How to (eye) Patch a Grabby Toddler

aPedi-Kids_Pic_edited-104x150.jpgMy 18 month old needs to wear an eye patch for 30 minutes a day. He’s been doing this since he was a couple of days old, and when he turned 1 he discovered that it was really easy to remove the patch. He also decided that the patches were delicious!

So then followed a series of months where we just couldn’t do the patching. It was a drag because I felt so guilty about it, but the only choice would have been to hold his little screaming body with his arms at his side!

Then I found the next best thing. Pedi-Wraps. They are like velcro sleeves that you wrap around their arms. I admit I still feel guilty — he can’t bend his arms and that makes him mad! But I just keep telling myself that I don’t want to have this conversation with him when he’s 20:

“Mom, why is my eyesight so bad?”

Well, you cried a lot when we put the patch on you, so we just gave up.

“Way to go Mom.”

In the picture [removed] he’s watching Lazytown — doctor-prescribed television! Ok, he didn’t actually tell us to put on Lazytown, but he did say that TV watching was good for him when he had his patch on. It makes his other eye work harder and that’s the point.

For the curious, my youngest son was born with what has finally been diagnosed as a cataract in his right eye. It looks like a white polka dot on top of his pupil. Since it isn’t possible to do a really accurate vision test on a baby (“Is this better…or worse? Better…or worse?”) they have to just go on the assumption that his vision is compromised.

So putting a patch on the ‘good’ eye makes the other eye stronger because it has to work hard. You know, like pushups. Um, or something I might actually do!


  1. says

    I had to start patching my youngest at 12 months for the majority of the day. We found that patching as soon as she got up worked best because it became part of our morning routine. After 6 months of patching, her weaker eye is now working with her preferred eye. She will need to always wear glasses, but if we had not been so faithful with the patching, she would have lost all vision in her left eye. It’s hard, but oh so worth it! We never had to use the PediWrap for Mia, but I ordered them to keep my arm straight when I sleep! I have this funky nerve thing in my right arm…probably from too much typing on the computer! LOL! Sorry for the lengthy comment. We played WFMW too…check us out!

  2. says

    We may have to patch our four-year-old soon, and I’m dreading it; I keep hoping that we will go back for the follow up in August and the doctor will say, NO PATCH NEEDED!

    In the meantime, we’re talking up how COOL it would be to be a pirate with an EYE BADGE (as he calls the patch). Think that will work?

    Probably not. Sigh.

  3. says


    The same place has some pretty cool looking eye patches. If you have to go that route maybe he’d like to pick out his ‘badges’? Of course, the fun wears off fast, but it might buy you some time…

    I hope you don’t have to do it at all though!

  4. says

    I’m so glad that I found your blog! My dtr who is 17 months old was also born with a cataract and I haven’t spoken to any other parents in the same situation! She had surgery at 3 weeks of age and now wears a contact lens to act as the lens of her eye that they removed. I am currently in a patching predicament. We had been doing so well for so long but the past 2 months, she has been fighting it. I just started putting mittens on her hands this week, which works for about 17 minutes and we need to do 2 hrs a day. I will have to give the pediwraps a try! Thanks for the suggestion!!!

  5. Tracey says

    I see the last woman who wrote has a son that had a cataract at birth… would love to connect with her… our son had one too, and I want someone to talk to about it.. can you hook us up?

  6. silva says

    hello i read traceys letter .i have the same son was born with cataract and had surgery when he was only 2 the presure on the eye is not coming down .I wanted to ask if they had the same problem ? is there any way that i can get in touch with her .

  7. Rhona & Judd says

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Thank goodness for Pedi-Wrap my son’s cataract was only discovered at 7 months of age and by that point he realized almost immediately that he would rip the patch right off. After his hands sweating constantly with mittens we finally ordered Pedi Wraps.

    As seems to be the case with many moms who have commented – its not always easy since they protest I have found that now that my son is 17 months old I can actually tell him that we are putting in his contact and then going to cover his eye (I place my hand on his good eye and mine so he understands and then I ask him if he wants to watch Thomas with his patch on) he nods and has even gotten to the point where he sometimes will cover his eye saying Ta Ta – in other words I want to watch Thomas and he knows the only time he watches TV is with a patch on. Its really quite amazing – I realized that if he has some control (like in the bath when we wash his hair and I warn him and count down when I rinse he’s okay with it)then he gets better with the whole concept.

    Judd needs his eye patched for 4-6 hours a day and in Sept he is going in for an exam under anaethesia (which makes me very nervous)

  8. LauraLiz says

    My son was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at 6 months and has had many EUAs (exams under anesthesia)- the first one was definitely the hardest. Now that his pressures are more stable, he should only need 2 a year…we hope. But he is 13 months and taking pressure readings in the office is not exactly reliable. I always remind myself that we will do whatever we need to do to presere his sight.

    His last visit brought us to patching his left eye to get rid of some of the astigmatism in his right eye that came after his last surgery. We are on day 2 and while it is supposed to be one hour a day, we are at about 2 minutes. He is too smart and will pick at it until it comes off. I am considering arm braces, but I can hear the screams and crying & tears without ever experiencing them. That is even worse than dealing with the glaucoma.

  9. Rhona & Judd says

    This is to LauraLiz – kids are very resilient. Try the Pedi Wrap – if you’d like I can send you the Pedi Wrap splints that Judd has now outgrown and you can put them on your little guy. Even if they scream and protest at first (which Judd did) he eventually got the hang of climbing up the stairs and playing with his toys with the splints on. Remember if your son wanted to play with knives and was having a tantrum because he wasn’t getting what he wanted you still wouldn’t give in. Don’t give in with this either if possible.

  10. silva says

    hello .this is silva again

    is there anyway that you can hook me up with Tracey.

    I would like to get in touch with her and talk about the cataract and glacoma of our kids .My son had his glacoma surgery on may 9th.But the presure is still in 20s .I wonder if they had the same problem after cataract surgery .Now we are not using the contac lense because of the surgery and i think we have to wait for about 2 months to start using it .

    So please can we get in touch with each other,or if there is someone else that i can talk to who had the same experiance .

    Thank you

  11. LauraLiz says

    Rhona & Judd- that is very kind of you. I checked out the pedia-wrap website. That seems the next logical step. I tried paper tape reinfocing the patch- we made it to about 4 1/2 minutes. Sometimes its so hard to do what is right!

    Can you email me at see about the size of the pedia-wraps? Thank you!

  12. Rick says

    Thanks for the info. everybody. Our little girl was born with a congenital cataract in one eye and had it removed at 11 weeks old. She has done great with the contact and patch until recently. We are patching 8 hours a day and were doing a great job of getting all 8 in until about a month ago. She has realized how to get them off, so currently we are going through what seems like 10 patches a day and only getting in 5-6 hours at best. She also thinks they are delicious! She will be one year old next week so this time is so important for her vision. We are going to order the pedi-wrap… it is our only chance right now to continue to improve vision! I really enjoy visiting with other parents with children in similiar conditions. Feel free to email me at with questions or comments!

  13. Vanessa says

    I get my pedi-wraps directly from the manufacturer. They are the manufacturer of the pedi-wrap splint distributed by Fresnel. If you order directly from them there is some choice as far as fabric goes. You can call their customer service and the girls there are pretty nice. They always go and check to see what prints are available for me when I call. The website is

  14. Kelly H. says

    I have also heard of parents using the swimmies and putting them over the elbows so they can’t bend their arms. Try that. Good luck.

  15. Linda says

    My little girl was born with a cataract in her right eye, she had operation at 4 weeks old to remove. At the beginning she wore spectacles and a patch, now she wears a contact lens and we patch left eye for half the time she is awake. She is 8 months now, and is constantly pulling the patch off, it is a nightmare trying to watch her constantly. We tried using a mitt, but she can pull it off now. Its great to know that there is other people going through the same thing. I will definitely try out the pedi-wraps.

  16. Anna says

    My son had a congenital cataract in his right eye, had it removed at 5 weeks, then another operation at 5 months because some of the cataract cells had regrown. He wears a contact lens and we patch the left eye. He is now 14 months old. I tried PediWraps. They are a great product but didn’t work for us because my son would lay on his back, hold the pediwrap with his feet, and pull his arm out. So we use swimmies on his forearms. This still allows for mobility of his wrists and elbows, but stops him from reaching his face with his hands. One of the nurses also suggested using a black light to find the contact when he does pop it out.
    Ironically, my husband is an ophthalmologist. He had a 17 year old girl that came into his office with her mom and her vision was bad in one eye. The mom said that they were supposed to patch when she was little but that the little girl just wouldn’t cooperate. She then asked what my husband could do to restore her vision in the eye. He sadly had to tell her that there was nothing that could be done. So hang in there with the patching!

  17. Lissa says

    My son recently had a corneal transplant on his left eye when he was 8 months old. We just had his sutures removed and his eye refracted. By God’s grace, it ‘s been almost 2 months since his transplant and his cornea is clear, sutures were intact until they were removed, no reactions, pressure is normal :) He will be wearing glasses and the doctor said that we should patch his left eye for at least 3 hours a day. He is fine with his glasses but cries a lot when we patch the eye… He has a patch that we slide onto his glasses. I was thinking of cutting out frosted tape and putting it into the lens of the glasses (right side) so that it comes out as frosted glass… do you think that would work?

    • says

      Lissa, ask your doctor to be sure, but I’d say that no, it wouldn’t work. You need to completely occlude (block) the other eye, and frosted isn’t the same.

      FYI, the patches which fit on the glasses never worked for us because my son could easily peek around them. You might want to check to see if your son is doing the same…

  18. chichi says

    My daughter is 8 months old now. I discovered that she had cataract and a surgery was done last month. I am struggling with the patch but she keeps taking it off. I will be using the pedi wrap but does anyone know if it has any side effect like blood cloth, contractures etc


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