The past few weeks have brought many opportunities to learn and share about writing. I was fortunate enough to attend the SCBWI conference in New York City, had a book signing at Barnes and Noble, presented at a teacher conference about writing strategies for kids, and had 2 more author visits at schools.
These things have all been wonderful, but the best thing of all, is that I have met more kids that have to patch and have been able to help them feel a little better about it. I love the chance to connect with the kids that I wrote this book for. It has also been great talking to adults about my book that may not have heard of this condition. I now of one case where a man I spoke to ended up taking his child to the eye doctor and found out he caught the condition soon enough to begin treatment and reverse the affects.
Amblyopia (lazy eye) is an eye condition that is caused when the brain favors one eye and stops relying on the other eye. The favored eye usually has normal vision and the "lazy" eye stops being used by the brain. As the weaker eye is used less and less, the vision continues to deteriorate. If this is still occurring when the child is between the ages of five and ten, the condition can become permanent.
It is important to seek an eye doctor's care if you notice your child has an eye that turns in or out, that he or she seems to be having difficulty seeing out of one of his/her eyes, or if he or she seems to have some problems with depth perception. The younger you can start treating amblyopia, the greater your chances are for correcting the problem.
Amblyopia can be treated by patching the stronger eye for a prescribed amount of time each day. This causes the weaker eye to use its central vision in conjunction with the proper brain stimulation. Vision therapy should be done along with eye patching for optimal results. It is best to take your child for their first eye exam by the age of 3 1/2 to check for this condition.
My daughter, Maddie, started patching at 3 years old and has been able to restore most of her vision. We still go to eye therapy and have some at-home eye exercises as well. I wrote the book, I am Not a Pirate, about her experiences with patching to help other kids see the positive side of patching.