The Tragic Optimist


Zoe finished her 10th day of patching this morning.  It hasn’t been easy, I know she doesn’t like it and it’s hard to see with the patch on, but I’ve been super proud of what a trooper she’s been, wearing it without complaint (though she does ask how much longer she needs to keep it on).

Last Friday, when we first learned she’d need to patch, she’d been hesitant to wear the patch out where others could see her in it – she was worried people would laugh at her.  I was worried it would cause problems at daycare, but she  reported that only one kid laughed once, but that a lot of kids kept thinking she’d hurt her eye, even if the teachers told them what the patch was for.  Still, I was surprised yesterday when she asked why she didn’t wear her patch at swim lessons, and told me that she wanted people in her swim class to know that she wore an eye patch.  I wanted to ask why, but was afraid it would come across as sounding like I thought she should hide from wearing the patch, so I filed it away.  Then as we were picking out clothes last night, I gave her the choice of wearing her patch to Sunday school, or waiting until after church.  She wanted to wear it to Sunday school and church, and again brought up that she wanted everyone to know she wore a patch.  This time, I couldn’t help myself and asked her why.  “So if they see me wearing a patch later on, they won’t ask me why I’m wearing it, or laugh at me,” was the answer.  She’s a proactive one, my girl is.

I will say, after walking through church with her with the patch on, I can see her point.  The number of well-meaning people who asked her if she’d hurt eye was getting a bit overwhelming.  For the record, given the prevalence of amblyopia, it’s probably safer to assume that a kid wearing an eye patch is strengthening the vision in their unpatched eye, rather than recovering from an eye injury.



  1. Gus Sterneman

    Once again, I seem to be the exception to the rule. When I was 5, I got a piece of rust under my eyelid and scratched my cornea pretty badly. So badly, I had to wear a patch 24/7 for 10 days. I absolutely hated it. They didn’t have the cool patches back then, jut plain medical beige. I’m glad Z is doing so well and is so pragmatic about it! Tell her I think she looks like a really cool pirate, and am jealous of her colorful patches!

    • Yikes, 24/7? That’s awful, no wonder you hated it. I’ve been amazed at how long 4 hours can seem when Zoe is home and patching and asking how much longer every half hour or so.

  2. Georgia

    Hey!Well done my Sweetie!I’m so glad she got on well with it and wants people to know why she wears it!My daughter also has the same problem with lots of people asking if she’d hurt her eye.
    I will say this,its always the adults that stare, never kids. I hate it when people say judgementally “Oh My God!Has she hurt her eye?” so God only knows how she feels! I used to feel like I had to explain it super fast in case they thought I was a bad Mum.I’m not half as bothered by those people who are so quick to judge now. I think thats the best piece of advice I could offer to any patching parent, don’t care about what others think and try to pass that on to yorr kids!How long does she have to patch for now? Have you been back to the hospital yet?Any improvement?

    • Thanks, Georgia, her next appointment is in a month – she’ll have done 6 weeks at that point. I don’t know if there’s any improvement yet, she still complains that it’s harder to see with the patch on, so I’m guessing we have a ways to go. People at daycare have apparently been asking how long she needs to patch for, and it’s so hard to answer. I really don’t want Zoe to get her hopes up that after 6 weeks she’ll be done, just to have that appointment come back with her needing to patch more. But I’m really hoping that that’s all it will take.

  3. Gah. I’ve been so guilty of stuff like this. Last night I asked a friend if he’d burned his arm. Nope, it was eczema. *cue embarrassment* That said, I’ve seen enough kids with their eyes patched that I think I’d assume amblyopia before injury. Especially if they’re also wearing glasses.

    • Oh, I’ve done things like that, too, which is why I figured I’d post it just in case someone ran into a kid who was patching. It’s funny how stumped I get when someone asks me the question, “what happened to her eye?” The answer of “nothing” doesn’t actually answer the question.

  4. Good for her! I’m not sure my eldest could be convinced (short of bodily restraint) to wear a patch for more than an hour. It hurts my head to even think about what we’d do to convince her otherwise. What a trooper Zoe is!

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