PatchPals

Mackenzie was diagnosed with severe amblyopia when she was 3 years old.  Her family had no idea that she was not seeing well with her left eye.  They began eye patching her every day, all day long. Not surprisingly, patching compliance was the source of many battles.  She would fight and cry, but after six months her vision was greatly improved. Wearing an eye patch was working, but the trick was to make it easier for Mackenzie.  Her mother, Cathy Thompson, created a cloth eye patch that fit over Mackenzie's eye glasses, and she decorated the eye patches to look like animal characters.  Mackenzie loved her new eye patches.  In the mornings, the discussions revolved around which patch to wear instead of "Why do I have to wear a patch?"  This gave Mackenzie some control in the situation.  Her friends at school loved them so much that they wanted one too. This made Mackenzie feel special instead of embarrassed.  They showed her ophthalmologist and he encouraged Cathy to sell the eye patches at his eye center.  Cathy now sells the patches all over the world to doctors and parents wanting to make the patching process easier and more comfortable. 

 

Mackenzie ended up patching for 5 years.  She started at 3 1/2 years old patching all day every day.  She tried Atropine eye drops but her parents worried that the drops may be damaging her good eye.  Mackenzie’s eye stayed dilated for 10 days after they stopped giving her the drops while on vacation.  At age 6, she started maintenance patching because her 20/400 vision improved to 20/30.  She slowly decreased the amount of patching she did every day until age 8 when she patched for only 1 hour per day.  It was a long journey for Mackenzie and her whole family but she has good vision in her eye and no longer needs to wear an eye patch.

 

Mackenzie is active in sports, dance team and musical groups.  She has long forgotten all the struggles she had over eye patching.  On the day she received her contacts she turned to her mom with a big smile and thanked her for making her patch.  She felt so beautiful and grown up.  To tell the truth, it was a little difficult for her parents to let go of the cute little girl with glasses and an eye patch.

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