Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review of Krafty eye Patches - Fun Eye Patch Kits for Kids

I first learned about Krafty eye Patches from another "amblyopia kid", Aidan, when his mother shared about their summer patching adventure.  Since we'd had not so good luck with adhesive patches in the past, I wasn't sure if this would be a patch that would work for my daughter and her super sensitive fair skin. Belle has a mild latex allergy and in the past the adhesive patches we tried were nightmarish. To say they irritated her skin is a bit of an understatement. She hated wearing them and complained a lot about "the band-aid patches" because they actually pulled out her eyebrows and ripped at her skin. There were a lot of tears.

Still, the fun eye patch decoration kits looked right up my daughter's "crafy" ally. And, when I explored the website some more and read about how Krafty eye Patches were developed I had a glimmer of hope.   

Could it be true.. Adhesive eye patches that are latex-free, hypoallergenic.. with an adhesive that will stay in place yet not rip her eyebrows and skin off?

Yes, it is true!  I spoke at length with Christi, one of the owners of SavCo optical - the company behind Kraft eye Patches. Christi shared with me her daughter Savvy's story and their determination to make a patch that was kids would wear that also was functional.  The big difference is in the adhesive, the adhesive is heat activated and made so it can be worn all day. It is also gentle so that it doesn't rip off skin or cause irritation. Importantly the patches have a black out layer on the bottom side so that kids cannot see through them. At the same time, the blackout layer is very thin so that it doesn't irritate their eyes or "crowd" their eyelashes.  My daughter has told me with some of the adhesive patches that "her eye needs to breathe" or that she feels like she is getting "eye burgers" (conjunctivitis).. so far so good with these Krafty patches.

Belle likes these particular patches because they don't hurt when they are removed at the end of the day. I was pleased with this also since the last thing I want for my daughter is a rash on her face or a big red circle around her eye like a raccoon.

Now... A note on the adhesive:  the first few times we wore these patches, I found that they were peeling. I wasn't sure if this was the high humidity and heat, or if the adhesive was "wimpy".  Its a fine line - because you don't want the adhesive so strong that it irritates or rips your kids skin off. But, at the same time you need it to stick. I contacted Savco and got these awesome instructions which I'll share here:

Here are some patch tips.
1. Make sure skin is dry and free from lotions or suncreen this will break down the adhesive.
2. Make sure narrow end of patch is toward bridge of nose. Look at kids picture on website as a reference if need to
3. Press firmly around all edges of the adhesive with your finger helping to get a good seal. Heat from your skin will activate the adhesive. You may need to go around more than once. Do not worry that it will make the adhesive stick too hard to the skin for it won't but if you really want the adhesive to activate you need to do this.
Each time you use the patch repeat all three steps. The adhesive is kinda like a post-it note each time you reuse it will start to lose it's sticky and you will need to press on pretty firmly.

If patch gets wet it will not stick again. If fingers touch adhesive a lot or if a child peels up a side and resticks many times in one place it will loose stick in that area.
She suggested that I try for myself on the back of my hand.  Yes! It works.  The peeling issues we experienced the first few times are pretty much all but gone. The only times we have had any sticking issues of note really have had to do with my daughter getting very sweaty - which considering its been over 100 degrees here at the Jersey shore with high humidity - well, that is pretty unavoidable.  I also found that sunscreen was a big contributor to breaking down the adhesive so I started to put the sunscreen on afterwards and not before her patch goes on. I also have had to remind her not to play with it, fidget or touch it. Some of this behavior is getting better as she is readjusting to wearing a patch on her eye pretty much full time.   If you don't have a kid who gets real sweaty or touches at their patch with dirty fingers - you can actually re-use these.  So, if you need to take it off for some reason - just stick it on a clean surface and then re-use it later on that day. You will need to press harder around the edges the second time you use it.

Fun Eye Patch Kits for Kids

The fun part about the Krafty patches is that they come in 7 colors (yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, pink, and green) and kids can decorate them to their hearts content.  You can purchase the patches in a variety of kits (for boys or girls), patch assortments in a box of 50, or accessories a la carte. All of the accessories are non-toxic and sized appropriately so that they will fit on the patches. Prices for the accessories are in line with discount stores and the prices for the patches are in line with other brands like Ortopad or Fresnel Prism.  50 patches/$15 and you pick up to 5 colors in the box.

Savvy made my daughter a bright pink patch with a googly-eyed frog on it (that she made using a foam flower piece).  My daughter likes it so much she doesn't want to wear it! I told her that I'd buy her some of the google eyes soon. Being able to decorate her patches has been a very good motivator for my daughter who wasn't very happy to have to patch again for 6-8 hours a day. We put the patches and decorating supplies in one of those gallon zipperseal bags and took them with us so that when we were with friends everyone could take a turn and make a patch for her. My daughter's favorite of course is the hot pink which gets a lot of attention and isn't subtle in the least. She likes to show it off and doesn't try to hide it behind her mass of hair - so I know she likes to wear it. You can see her making a patch below and one of the first patches she made.  She is also wearing one of the Krafty patches in her Amblyopia PSA video we put earlier in the week.

For more info: visit the Krafty eye Patches website

disclaimer: Savco sent my daughter a Mini Be Dazzle Kit for girls which included 30 patches (10 each pink, purple, yellow) plus foam flowers, butterfly stickers and jewels [the kit is priced at $13] to try out for purposes of this review and sharing our honest opinion. Thank you for letting us try these! We'll be back for more soon!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Fancy Nancy and the Spectacular Spectacles

My daughter absolutely loves Fancy Nancy. They are kindred spirits of sorts.  Fancy Nancy is an over-the-top girly girl, and you could absolutely say the same about my daughter. I was thrilled when I saw that Fancy Nancy now has a book out on the topic of getting glasses - of course I bought it for her. This is a big find for parents of little girls with glasses and Fancy Nancy fans alike.   Absolutely a must have for your library of books dealing with kids in glasses.

The storyline revolves around Fancy Nancy's friend Bree who is having a hard time seeing and she gets glasses.  Unlike so many of the kids books that deal with the topic of getting glasses, there is no hardship about not wanting to wear them, breaking them, or the likes of it.  Instead, Bree loves her glasses and delights in just how fabulous they are. She loves to wear them, stores them in a glitzy case and wipes them clean with a silk cloth.  Our heroine, Fancy Nancy, gets a bit jealous about Bree's "spectacular spectacles" (those are 'big fancy words' for pretty eyeglasses).  Nancy wishes that she has glasses like her friend Bree but in the end she makes some spectacular specs of her own by decorating a pair of broken sunglasses.   True to Fancy Nancy, the illustrations are very busy with lots to explore and tons of imagination. My daughter loves that Nancy's  eyeglasses have wings on them like a bird!   My only complaint with this book is that though it is rated as a beginner reader level 1 - it has a lot of big words in it (because that is how Fancy Nancy operates). So, truly beginning readers will likely require more assistance with this particular I Can Read book than others in the series.

Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles is a paperback 'I Can Read' beginner level 1 book and is priced at just $3.99 

3 month checkup

Maggie had her latest checkup today with her eye doctor, and I wasn't expecting anything good or bad with this visit. She received a new pair of glasses with updated frames that hold a slightly stronger prescription about 3 months ago. These are a step up from the Miraflex frames she had worn for a couple of years. I don't know about boys, but it seems for girls even at age 4 they are concerned with how their glasses make them look. With her pink frames, she is very proud to wear them and let everyone know how much she likes them.

As for the outcome of the visit, there wasn't any major progress or regress, but I suppose if the pediatric ophthalmologist tells you to bring your child back in six months rather than 3 months as she has for the past year, then that must be a good sign!

Our Eye Patch Challenge

So, with the news that Belle has to patch 6-8 hours every day we are really on a mission.  I've been setting the timer on my cellphone to go off when Belle's patching is complete so she knows that she has to wear it til she hears the timer and stop asking me every 5 minutes if time is done yet.   It is getting easier with less "ugly moments".   She has made it so far every day for a minimum of 6 hours all but one day since the doctor gave us "the news".  But wow, at the end when time's up she is exhausted and her behavior leaves a lot to be desired. We are seeing a lot of clinginess, whining, meltdowns - moreso than you'd expect from a 5 year old but I know where its coming from and hopefully it will get better with time.

Since its summer and she is wearing her sunglasses a lot and changing in and out of her glasses. I've decided to give adhesive patching another try.  After talking to a lot of moms who had 'peekers' like me - adhesive style patches were suggested many many times.  The good news is it seems even in the past year there have been great strides made in the adhesive patches. So, I ordered some new patches from Ortopad (they have a whole new line of sensitive skin/latex free ones!) as well as some from Fresnel Prism to give them another shot.  I also corresponded by email and phone with the owner of Krafty Eye Patches and got one of their fun kits which has gotten Belle excited about decorating her eye patches and making them pretty.  We also got some Eye-Doodle Eye Patch Stickers that stick right onto patches and are stickers with really bright artwork on them made just the right shape for patches. All of these things do have Belle a lot more excited to pick a patch and keep it on every day.  I have to say, I expected her to give me a lot more complaints about using the adhesives but she has been pretty darn good about it.   

How YOU can help!

The hardest part for Belle lately has been dealing with the comments from strangers as well as friends who are not used to seeing her with a patch.  In order to break the ice with a few of her friends I had her pass out a blank eye patch to them and ask them if they could decorate it for her.  This reminded me of The Eye Patch project that one of our readers did with their child that was similar to a round robin or coupon swap.  How it works is you send out/give out patches to people to decorate for your child to wear.  Belle really liked this idea so we are going to do it.   I'll be sending out the blank patches with a SASE for you to send back to me, if you would like to decorate a patch for Belle - please let me know in the comments or by emailing me at amblyopiakids at gmail dot com 

Do not post your address into the comments - please send it to me in email.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Delighted by Despicable Me

If you've ever gone to the movies and been disappointed at the overwhelming stereotypical portrayal of kids who wear glasses, you are not alone.  After taking the kids to see Despicable Me, we all agreed that there were a whole lot of glasses in this kids flick. And, I'm not just referring to the moviegoers who were donning the RealD glasses.

Our  Despicable Me movie experience was a pretty exciting one.  First, we had a debate over the whole 3D issue again. My 9 year old son really wanted to go to see it in 3D.  However, we have skipped seeing the 3D versions of films lately because of his sister's vision issues and 3D frustrations. Still, we felt it wasn't totally fair to him to always be sacrificing for her. She agreed that she would try to see it in 3D. Ultimately, if she wore the 3D glasses over her regular glasses - the worst case scenario would be that the movie would just be in 2D for her. If she took them off, then it would be blurred - so she agreed to wear them.  We loaded up the kids and headed out to the theatre only to realize when we were almost all the way there that my daughter wasn't wearing her glasses!  She is always so good about putting them on right when she wakes up, that I had no idea she wasn't wearing them. Oops! So, we headed home to get her glasses and looked up movie times (thanks to the android app for movies right on my phone). We ended up picking a different theatre so we could catch the next showing.

Once we got to the theatre my daughter was excited to learn that they had kids 3D glasses so she didn't have to use one of her brother's eyeglass straps to hold the gigantic glasses on her tiny head.  Then, the previews began. Preview after preview for yet another kids 3D movie.  I get frustrated by this and so does she.   Then the movie started.  Within the first 5 minutes she remarked about some of the 3D effects.  Was my daughter seeing some 3D?  Yes! somehow, by some miracle she was. I don't know that she saw all of them, but on more than one occasion she commented about something coming into her head or reached out to grab and touch the image. This was cool to see, since previously she'd just sit there non-phased during 3D effects.

This made me love Despicable Me even more!

But wait.. more reason to love Despicable Me...

My daughter and I especially enjoyed the character, Margo, the oldest 'sister' in Despicable Me. She is a sweet little girl who happens to wear glasses. The character is voiced by Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly). I was happy to see that they've made a Margo plush toy. We'll be getting this one!  (Amazon: Despicable Me Deluxe 15 Inch Plush Figure Margo)

But, Margo isn't the only character in glasses - she may be the cutest though!

Meet Gru's mother who wears glasses ala something you'd see in the Princess Peepers book.

But the best glasses of all - the minions!  Hundreds of little yellow guys wearing glasses. Belle loved that some of them only had 1 eye. Of course, according to her - that means they automatically have amblyopia (like Mike from Monsters Inc).

Even the 'bad guy', Vector, who reminds me of Austin Powers - wears glasses!

Related posts:
Chipmunks & Chipettes wearing glasses as role models!
Guys do make passes at Girls who wear Glasses - Sam Sparks in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Amblyopia, 3D Movies, and Ice Age 3

Sunday, July 18, 2010

RealD 3D Kids Sized Glasses in Theatres now

Those of you have attempted to go to 3D movies, only to find that the glasses are giant and don't stay on your child's head, fear no more.  Since the release of Toy Story 3 in 3D,  RealD has released glasses in a smaller kid-friendly size.  Hopefully your theatre takes the hint and stocks them!  The glasses are aimed for kids ages 8 and under.  They are meant to be worn over any prescription eyewear, however the fit may be precarious when layering them.   

Parent tip: you may still want to bring an eyeglass retainer strap to the hold the glasses on your child's face and prevent them from slipping. For children who refuse to keep the glasses on during the movie, opting to see the movie in 2D format may be a less frustrating (and more affordable) option (but without the fancy 3D effects). Many children, especially those with amblyopia,  will continue to struggle to see the 3D effects- kids-sized 3D glasses or not.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Explaining Her Eye Patch (Video Blog)

Her very own Amblyopia PSA, and yes her voice is really that high and squeaky!  Belle explains in this short video why she has to wear a patch.  We are working on her practicing what to say to people when they make comments or point at her wearing the patch. She's not shy at all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reader Poll - What is Your Favorite Eye Patch

Vote for your favorite eye patch
  -- pick just 1!--

Reader Poll - Adhesive or Cloth?

I posted this question on the facebook page but thought it would be good to post an official poll here. Feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comments.

What type of patch do you use? 

Eye Patch Reviews

Amblyopia Kid Tested.... Mom Approved!

Submit your eye patch reviews and pictures to to

If you are an eye patch manufacturer and would like to send out patches to some of the amblyopiakids readers to try. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Eye Patch Reviews Alphabetical Index

Adhesive patches
CVS vs Nexcare adhesives
Krafty eye Patches - fun eye patch kits for kids with gentle adhesive!
Patches for Glasses
"No-Peek" Patches (etsy store)
Peek-a-boo patches (ebay) update as of 7/2010 cannot locate seller
The Perfect Patch

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The doctor says... More Patching

So, since at her last eye doctor visit, things didn't go as well as planned. We learned Belle would be patching again and also is due for new glasses. So, after dilating her eyes at home we went in prepared for whatever the doctor would tell us. 

Verdict:  Patching daily. 6-8 hours a day. 

Re-check in 1 month and at that time we'll consider getting new glasses. Her prescription has changed but he wants her to get back in the patching routine first.

Belle was upset and teary about it. She said her friends won't like her anymore. I said that isn't true and that they'd like her just the same. We recently received some patches from Krafty Eye Patches which have her excited about patching again and she is going to ask her friends to make and decorate patches for her.  We also took our eye patch tree out of the closet and hung it back up on the doorway for her to earn prizes for patching.

I told her we'd start patching tomorrow (hopefully the dilation will be reduced by then), but she asked to do a little before dinner.  She decorated a patch and put it on while we went outside to walk the dog together.  It isn't the best patch activity but I could tell she just wanted to wear it and be with me.   It was all good until one of the neighborhood children who was outside playing called her "One Eye" which hurt her feelings.   Conveniently the patch "fell off" her face a few minutes after that.  I didn't make a big deal of it. 

Tomorrow will be a new day.

Cyclogyl for Eye Dilation

In the past my daughter has been prescribed atropine drops for dilation of her eyes (for exam). Some kids with amblyopia use atropine drops as an alternative to patching for occlusion purposes.  My daughter however hasn't had the best luck with atropine. Side effects she has experienced include flushed cheeks, increased heart rate and droopy eyelids.  So, this time the doctor prescribed Cyclogyl drops. We had to give her the drops at bedtime the night before her exam and then again in the morning before she went in for her appointment.  We are very lucky because Belle is very cooperative about eye drops. She did complain and cry a bit after they were put in and said they were stinging but she lets us put the drops in without issue.

Knowing first hand that the dilation causes light sensitivity I came armed with her prescription sunglasses which she didn't really need to use since today was an overcast and rainy day. When we got to the eye doctors she let me know that the waiting room was too bright for her so we moved and waited in the other waiting room which has the lights off (the room where patients wait while they dilate).

I took this picture of her (using my android phone) with her eyes fully dilated (and used no flash). The picture was dark so I used auto-correct in the photo editor. You can't even see the blue of her eyes her pupils are so large.   We thankfully experienced no side effects from Cyclogyl as we did with Atropine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ABC News article about Amblyopia & Video Games

Last week I was interviewed by ABC News on the topic of Amblyopia and playing video games, specifically in regards to the Nintendo DS. Dr. Maino of Maino's Memos  was also interviewed for the article.  The interview was in a response to a news story about a 6 year old boy who had notable vision improvements after playing Mario Kart on the DS.  Last year I published a blog post when my daughter started using her DS during patching time. You can find the article here. I believe that the DS is just one of many productive activities for kids to do during patch time.


Doctors Treat Vision Problem With Video Games

Video Games May Be the Right Prescription for Amblyopia






Related Articles:

Playing Nintendo Daily Saves Boy’s Eyesight

The Nintendo DS can be helpful for Amblyopia



Friday, July 2, 2010

Patching Advice Requested at Little Four Eyes

little four eyes (
There's a Reader question over at the Little Four Eyes blog on the topic of patching for 24/7.   

Hop on over and help out! 

The Little Four Eyes blog/community is an excellent resource for parents of little ones with "four eyes"!  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Amblyopia Resources on Facebook

Amblyopia Kids is on facebook and there are lots of other great amblyopia resources on Facebook too!

While you are on facebook be sure to check out...

Amblyopia Support Support page for Amblyopia courtesy of Billy's Journey with Amblyopia Blog
Amblyopia FB Community Page (wikipedia)
Bjort & Company creators of The Eye Patch Kids DVD
Little Four Eyes - a group for parents of young kids in glasses
Our Road with Amblyopia
Parents of Kids with Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Pediatric Esotropia/ Exotropia/ Strabismus/ Amblyopia/ Cross-eyed Awareness
Eye-Doodle Eye Patch Stickers Fun stickers & designs shaped like patches.
Krafty Eye Patches - Fun Eye Patch kits for kids
Patch-Me-Too - handmade patches for kids

Dr Patch (group)

Missing a facebook link here? Leave a comment!

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