My Optometrist sent me home with a red lens patch for home vision therapy exercises to help fix my suppression issues. My kids got ahold of it and broke it. The patches aren’t available anywhere online unless you are an eye doctor and I live pretty far away from the Optometrist, so I decided to figure out how to make my own.
It is a pretty basic eye patch so it wasn’t too hard to replicate. Just follow these basic steps and you could have your own red lens patch in a matter of minutes.
- Gather Supplies
- Cut Out Lenses
- Glue the Two Pieces Together
- Glue on Elastic Band
- Add Foam Around the Edge for Comfort
I am not a medical professional and do not recommend using a red lens patch unless you are prescribed this treatment by a vision doctor. Find a Developmental Optometrist near you to see if a red lens patch would be beneficial for you! If you want to know what they are used for, check out this post: What is a Red Lens Patch?
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, on to the fun part!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Okay to make a patch you will need just a few items, you might even have some of these things around your home, I’ll link to amazon to keep it simple.
You will need:
- About 20 inches of ¼ inch elastic or a elastic cord
- Red Filter for the lens
- ¼-⅜ inch Foam border
- Drill or Hot Glue Gun
- Pattern for the Patch
Check out your craft supply closet and you may be able to find elastic, my daughter’s jewelry making set had some that I was able to salvage. My mom is also the ultimate crafter and she had several types to choose from.
For the Red Lens there are a few options. On amazon you can buy colored overlays that work well if you double them up. I couldn’t find these anywhere local, but if you live in a bigger city you may have luck at an education specialty store. They are also used as a tool with dyslexia.
The original patch is made with a “Wratten 92 Filter” which can be purchased via eBay for a mere $162.95. I’m sure medical suppliers have a better way to purchase their supplies than eBay, but I had to get creative because I’m not interested in buying in bulk.
I opted for the amazon option to save on money.
For the foam around the edge you could cut a piece of foam you already have at your home and glue it on. I had nothing so I went with a nice adhesive weatherstrip product from Walmart. I got enough to make about 100 patches for $5. Here is a similar product on Amazon.
I like this option because it is so easy to put on the patch! It already has the adhesive on the back and it goes on so easily!
You can attach the elastic with a hot glue gun if it’s a flat elastic or use a drill to create two small holes to thread it through if you’re using elastic cord.
Quick disclaimer, be careful and don’t burn yourself with the hot glue gun, it is dangerous and shouldn’t be used by children, or people with poor vision…ummm….
My mom made me a pattern to use to cut out the patch and she was generous enough to share it with all of you. Click below to download the PDF.
Step 2: Cut Out Lens
Cut out the pattern and trace it onto the red overlay and cut it out. Wait to peel off the protective layer until you are done cutting so that the lens doesn’t get dirty.
If you are a perfectionist go ahead and use your cricket, pazzles or sillouette cutting machine to get perfect lines. I was going for solid B+ work so I just used scissors.
Step 3: Glue the Two Pieces Together
Plug in your glue gun and peel off the Protective layer off of both sides of your lens. Don’t forget this step or you won’t be able to see through the lens and it will defeat the purpose.
Put a little dot of hot glue on each side of one lens and glue the two together. Be super careful here! I totally ruined one by letting the hot glue stringy mess get onto the lens. Luckily, I had to buy 9 sheets so there was plenty of room for error.
And don’t stress when they don’t match perfectly. When you put the foam around the edge it hides the imperfections pretty well, and honestly, this isn’t going to win any fashion contests anyway.
Step 4: Glue on Elastic Band
Keep it simple and just measure your piece by wrapping the elastic around your head, estimating where it will attach to the patch. Hold the spot with your finger and cut off your piece. Do pull it just a little tighter so that it stays put and doesn’t just slip off.
Once you have a piece that is a good length (I’m not giving a measurement because I have a large head and you’d all be cursing me if you based yours off of mine!) just glue it on to each side with your hot glue gun. Again, be super careful not to let the stringy junk get onto the actual lens.
Step 4 For Elastic Cord
If you are using elastic cord then you’ll need to do step 5 first. After the foam is attached (1), whip out your drill and use a drill bit that is just a little bit bigger than your cord so it’s easy to thread. Place the patch on a piece of wood and drill a hold where you want a hole for the elastic (2).
Tie a knot at the very end of the elastic and thread it through one side, pulling it all the way through. Then thread the other end through the other hole and tie a little knot at that end so it doesn’t come back out. It will look nicer if you have the knots on the underside of the patch so that they can be hidden in the foam.
Step 5: Add Foam Around the Edge for Comfort
If you just put the patch on now it is going to smash your eye and be really uncomfortable. It also won’t be very functional, you don’t want to skip this step.
If you purchased foam with a sticker back, just carefully remove the first inch or two of backing. I like to start at the top of the patch where it is straight (1). It makes it much easier to match it up at the end.
Just slowly press it on around the edge of the lens using your finger to keep the edge of the lens matched up with the edge of the foam. It will hide the edge of the elastic nicely (2).
When you get to the end, cut it just a little bit long (3) so that you get a nice tight fit. You can bend the patch out a little and stuff the two ends together to make it fit well and look pretty (4).
And now you have a super functional and comfortable red lens patch to use with your home vision therapy.
Step 6: Try it Out!
Now that you’ve gone through all the work of making your own red lens patch, you’re probably anxious to try it out!
Here is a fun puzzle that my mom made me to use with the red patch. She has zeroed in on the exact font to use so that it completely cancels with the red patch. Print it out and let me know if it works for you and if you love it as much as I do!
This patch will definitely get you through until you can get in to see your Developmental Optometrist for an official patch. It isn’t exactly the same as my original. There is a different quality to the medical grade patch that is just a little clearer, but this one still works great as far as canceling and anti-suppression therapy go.
Make sure to check with your Optometrist before making or using this patch or any kind of home vision therapy. It isn’t meant for every vision problem and I am not a doctor! You can check out who it is good for over here or at your own Vision Therapy Office.
How is a Red Lens used in Photography?
There are many different types of filters that photographers use to enhance their photographs. Red Filters are used many times in black and white photos because increase contrast in the photo. Most cameras have settings that will automatically do this now so filters aren’t used as often.
What are Red Lenses in Glasses For?
Some tinted glasses are used as a fashion statement and aren’t intended to provide any medical benefit. Some people use red lens glasses to reduce eye strain, increase contrast, and improve depth perception. A study done in 2007 used red tinted glasses to treat Achromatopsia and other cone disorders with great success. (1)
1.Schornack, Muriel M. The Use of Tinted Contact Lenses in the Management of Achromatopsia. Optometry, Missouri, American Optometric Association. August 2015, 78.1, pages 17-22.