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My son suffers has a lazy eye, and the doctors have said to put a patch over his other eye for two hours a day.

He also cannot walk yet, so we do physiotherapy, and stepping with him at home.

I want to know if one affects the other. When one eye is covered is it harder to maintain balance? Is it fair to do physiotherapy with the patch on?

  • Welcome to Parenting.SE! I'm going to migrate this to Health.SE since it seems much more about physiology and development than about how to parent. – Erica Nov 9 '16 at 12:18
  • Ask the doctor and the physical therapist. Great question! – aparente001 Nov 12 '16 at 4:53
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Trying to combine physiotherapy with patching sounds like a parenting nightmare. As the AAO says:

Persuading your child to wear a patch can be a challenge, especially if the vision in the child’s amblyopic eye is very poor and the child is objecting strongly.

They go on to say:

Unfortunately this is an area of treatment where there is no “quick fix” but it is also a brilliant opportunity to spend a great deal of time and enjoy playing with your child.

Unless the physiotherapy is something that is enjoyed by the child, there would need to be a complying reason to combine the two. Medically, there is no compelling reason to combine the therapies, but for individual patients there could be practical reasons (e.g., time)

to answer your question, the visual system does plays a role in balance. The Vestibular Disorders Association has a nice graphic depicting how sensory input affects balance:

enter image description here

While vision plays a role in balance, the blind can compensate for their visual impairment: http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?SectionID=67&TopicID=313&DocumentID=3470

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An eye patch would significantly reduce your sons depth of field in his vision. I believe in turn this would have an effect on his balance.

Get someone to hold a pencil in front of you, cover one eye and try to touch the sharpened end... hard right?

There was a study that looks at vision impaired balance. Maybe this might help?

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/1695904

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    An effect, yes, but I wouldn't expect it to be very strong. Vision is only one of at least three mechanisms the body uses to maintain balance. – Mark Feb 8 '17 at 2:16
  • The issue is more complicated because of the amblyopia. By patching the "good" eye, the decrease in vision is much more like covering both eyes. The reliance on depth cues is likely decreased, however, because of the amblyopia. Therefore, covering both of your eyes is not the same as patching an eye for amblyopia. – StrongBad Apr 10 '17 at 15:23

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