Now that surgery is completed, it is time to start the visual rehabilitation. This means mastering the contact lens and eye patching (Occlusion therapy)
Contact lens handling
Basic insertion, removal, cleaning and general contact lens instruction will be given to you by an Orthoptist or eye care professional. This will occur as soon as possible after you have collected the contact lens. You will be contacted for a contact lens teaching session. This appointment usually requires one to two hours. You will need to have short fingernails and it is best to bring a support person with you.
Occlusion therapy - "patching"
The Orthoptist will also advise you of how to patch your baby's stronger eye to encourage improvement in the vision of the affected (weaker) eye. In conjunction with the Ophthalmologist, the Orthoptist will work out a daily patching regime for your child.
In the early days of occlusion therapy when your child has not yet started to see well, it is quite normal for your child to become sleepy with the patch on. Parents often report a difference in their child's behaviour during patch time. For example, a happy outgoing child may become shy, quiet and insecure because they are not seeing well. Your child will need comfort and reassurance during occlusion therapy. Your time and effort in playing with your child will be important. In the early stages of occlusion therapy it is important that your child is watched closely while wearing the patch to reduce the chance of an injury occurring.
Some parents will find that the routine of patching is very difficult and may feel it is affecting their relationship with the child. Please contact the Orthoptist or Ophthalmologist if this occurs, as there may be ways to reduce distress.
More information about how to use an eye patch is in the “How to make an eye patch” Fact sheet.
Your family may be eligible for the special financial assistance. Your Ophthalmologist or eye health provider can advise you on this.
Getting the contact lenses
Recognised optical dispensers should be consulted when buying the contact lens. Some firms offer reduced rates for infants and pre- school children. If the lens comes with a guarantee, check what this involves or covers. Some of the private health funds offer an optical dispensing service - it may be worthwhile looking into this option.
It is strongly suggested that you keep a spare contact lens on hand at home at all times. A lens with a coloured handling tint is available if you prefer. As well as the contact lenses, you will need to buy the cleaning solutions and sterilising equipment. In some cases, the ophthalmologist that performed the surgery and prescribed the lenses may be able to order the lenses from the manufacturer. This varies depending on the type of lens needed.
- Your eye care professional will provide specific education about using contact lenses
- Check warranty details for contact lens.
- Your child will need comfort and reassurance.