In August of 2018, I started patching my strong eye to help strengthen my eye that was weakened because of my amblyopic strabismus. After six months of using different patches 2-4 hours each day, I have zeroed in on the best ones out there.
So, what is the best eye patch for adults? The best eye patch will depend on the length of time you’ll be using it, the activities you’ll be doing, and the purpose of your patching. For extended periods of time or for use during physical activity, an adhesive patch is a perfect option, Worthy Brands, Ortopad and MYI are both awesome. If you have glasses, you’ll want either an adhesive patch or over-the-glasses cloth patch. For home vision therapy exercises you’ll want an adjustable cloth patch that you can switch from eye to eye, Etsy and Amazon have great options.
I’ve used six different cloth patches and at least 10 variations of brand and size of adhesive patches. There were some I loved, others not so much.
If you are wondering if patching could help strengthen your eyes or help fix your lazy eye, schedule a consult with me and I can help you figure that out!
If you are looking for the perfect patch, check out the specs and my advice for picking the right patch for you below.
What is the Best Eye Patch for Adults?
The best patch is the one that matches your activities or purposes. There are many reasons that an adult might be looking for an eye patch;
- Amblyopia or Strabismus Treatment-Strengthening a Weak Eye
- Amblyopia or Strabismus Treatment- Vision Therapy
- Blocking Light for a Sensitive Eye
- Shielding a Damaged Eye
- Prevention of Double Vision
Some of these conditions require full-time patching, others are only used for home exercises, or during driving. Some people are prescribed five hours of patching each day, while others only patch for 30 minutes during home therapy.
I patch my dominant eye between one and two hours every morning and then alternate patching each eye for about 30 minutes at another point in the day to do my eye exercises like the ones in this article. In the morning I definitely use an adhesive patch, otherwise, I just subconsciously take it off when I am faced with a difficult task like reading or fixing my daughters’ hair. (Update 2023: I no longer patch in the mornings, only during therapy activities).
If you are using the patch to strengthen a weak eye, I recommend using an adhesive patch. This will force you to actually leave it on during those activities that require detailed vision. This will strengthen your eye much more quickly as opposed to a cloth patch that you might just remove.
When I do eye exercises, I use a cloth patch that I can easily put on and take off. One of my exercises is to set a timer for three minutes per eye and follow a pencil with my eye. It is referred to as “eye stretches” and gives me practice at maintaining focus on a moving object. When I’m switching between eyes it is much more convenient with a cloth patch.
If you are protecting an eye from light, you should use an adhesive patch. The cloth patches just don’t quite block the light as well. If you move around and the patch shifts, the light will get in and disturb you. The adhesive patch will stay put and just block light more effectively if you get the right brand and size.
If you wear a patch full-time to cover a damaged or deformed eye, you will probably want to go with a cloth or leather patch that is a style that you like. There are some really cool (and expensive) patches out there for these situations. The only trouble is that those pesky straps will mess up your hair.
Here are some pros and cons, where to find my favorite patches, and which patches to avoid.
- They don’t move around
- Block light very effectively
- Cannot be removed easily
- Very c
- Don’t mess up your hair
- Can become expensive for long-term patching
- Can irritate skin when they are very sticky
- They mess up your eye make-up, more than other types
There are so many different options for adhesive patches. Some boast soft fabric and breathability, others have a variety of designs or special sensitive skin friendly material.
I have not tried every patch out there but I have tried quite a few, so I’m becoming a bit of an expert, here are the specs on each brand.
Worthy Brands makes See Worthy Eye Patches. They are a one size fits all solution with a huge variety of patterns. You can even design your own, which is so fun! With a patented adhesive technology you get a patch that stays on for as long as you need it and doesn’t hurt at all to remove. It is great for sensitive skin and the company is owned by a woman who designed them for her daughter who was patching. They have been tried and adjusted until they were perfect. You can purchase on their website and get 10% if you use the code: STRABISMUSSOLUTION10
Optego makes the Ortopad brand and they have 3 different sizes. All of their patches are latex-free, breathable and completely block any light from coming through. They have notches cut which make them stick and fit so much better around the nose. You can customize the patterns and styles on their website. I love the regular sized Ortopad patches (Amazon Link).
The Fresnel Prism and Lens Company
Krafty Eye Patches is another brand I have tried (Amazon Link). They have really fun crafts to do with patching which would be awesome for kids. They are hypoallergenic and aren’t quite as sticky so they don’t hurt to remove. I didn’t like the shape of the patch. There was too much sticker past my nose and without notches, it didn’t stay stuck on very well. It also didn’t fully block the light for me. It was difficult to read or do activities because the light was coming through. This probably wouldn’t have been as much of a problem for a child.
I must include the lovely, grocery store brand of eyepatch, Nexcare. I got some great looking light blue ones. They are pretty good as far as looks, but other than that, they are pretty bad. They don’t at all block the light (terrible!) and are so sticky. It is the kind of stick that will leave a nasty residue on your skin. it just doesn’t work. This wasn’t a problem with any of the other patches. I would not recommend grocery store patches that are made by band-aid companies. Go for the companies that specialize in making patches and other visual aids.
Cloth Patch (Pirate Patch)
- No sticky residue or painfulness with
- Can easily be switched from one eye to the other
- Fun designs and options for adults
- Doesn’t mess up eye make-up (as much)
- Easy to peek around the patch
- Don’t completely block light
- Mess up your hair (I know, so vain)
- Makes a line on your face if it’s too tight
I love to have a few cute go-to cloth patches for those times when I’ve already gotten ready and I don’t want my patch to smash my eyelashes. I’m really not horribly vain, but nobody wants smashed eyelashes.
They also just feel less medical and more like they could be part of an outfit. When I wear an adhesive patch, people gasp and say “oh no! What happened?!?” With a fabric patch, they say “oh, why are you wearing an eye patch?” I prefer the later.
The only fabric patch that reliably keeps all the light out all the time and is insanely comfortable is also the most hideous patch of all time. Check it out. It literally covers half of my face, but I love how comfortable it is, you can also adjust the length of the strap. I wear it quite often. It is not adjustable, it is for either the left or right eye. Here is the link for Amazon.
I love the fun, cute designs on Etsy, there are so many options and every person I talked to and messaged was completely willing to adjust the length of the strap, colors, and fabric. I love being able to wear a patch and feel cute (ish) at the same time. My four and six-year-old daughters love when I wear my “pretty” patches and try them on in secret.
Crafting Planet also sells custom made eye patches. They are a little larger in size, and there is a constant leak of light next to the nose. Just make sure you send them your head circumference so that you can get the length just right. I didn’t do this and it is a little tight. I love their designs and I use these mainly during eye therapy.
There are so many more Etsy shops that make eye patches, but these are the ones I’ve actually used. What are your favorites?
Amazon sells several types of “silk” patches. The name is just too tempting, it sounds so comfortable, but let me tell you, they aren’t. The way the strap attaches pulls against your eye and is so annoying. If you loosen the strap too much it just slips off, must be that silky fabric. They do block the light, but they are just too annoying, I can’t stand them.
There are a ton of “pirate” eye patches meant for costumes or super cheap ones at the store. The main problem is that they are designed for looks so they don’t block light well, they are also very tight, probably because they’re made for children. They are made super cheap and it shows. You can see a point at the center of the patch and over time,
Patches that Work with Glasses
There are a few options for patches that work with glasses. So many Etsy sellers have fabric patches that fit over the top of glasses. I’ve heard that it is easy to peak around the patch, which shouldn’t be so much of a problem for adults but it is a problem with kids. They save tons of money and combine the benefits of both adhesive and regular patches (stay on with the glasses, don’t mess up hair, save money, etc).
Dr. Patch makes a silicon patch the suction cups onto glasses (Website). The reviews are fantastic and they seem to be extremely effective at blocking out the light. I don’t wear glasses so I’ve not ever tried them, but it may be something to look into if you are patching with glasses.
Size Comparison of the Most Popular Eye Patches
Here are some photos comparing the sizes of some of the patches that I’ve used. I am super visual and it was helpful for me to see the different sizes compared to each other.
For adhesive patches, here is the list from smallest to largest:
- MYI Junior Size 2.5″ x 2.11″
- Ortopad Junior Size 2.63″ x 2″
- Ortopad Medium Size 3″ x 2.13″
- See Worthy One Size 3.15″x2″
- MYI Regular Size 3.16″x2.25″
- Krafty Patch Regular 3.25″ x 2.25″
- Nexcare Regular 3.25″ x 2.25″
- Ortopad Regular 3.63″ x 2.45″
Trouble Shooting Eye Patch Problems
There are a few potential problems with patching, but the main one is the stickiness of adhesive patches. They are built to stick throughout workouts, sweating, crying, and who knows what else. This can make removing the patch very painful.
Here are a few ideas to make patch removal a little less painful:
- Before you put the patch on your eye, stick in onto your jeans (if they are clean) or arm a few times to get some of the sticky off. Do not stick it onto a fuzzy sweater. I tried this once and went insane when all the little fuzz pieces stuck to the patch and tickled my eye. Be careful not to overdo it or the patch won’t stay on well, especially at the bridge of your nose. I don’t even touch the part that’s going on my nose because you need all the stick you can get for that part (is it my greasy nose? Perhaps).
- Put lotion or milk of magnesia on your skin where the patch is going to go on. Let it dry and then put the patch on.
Make sure that you only patch if it has been prescribed by an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist. I have seen great results with patching. If you’re wondering if patching is right for you, check out my post about it, Will Patching Fix my Lazy Eye? I believe that patching definitely has a place in the treatment of Amblyopia and Strabismus, but it isn’t meant for everyone so check with your eye doctor first!
What Other Options are Available to Replace Patching?
Patching can be very difficult and annoying, so what are other options? Using a red lens patch for specific activities is great option that makes the patch time much more effective and helps build the strength of both eyes working together.
In-office vision therapy is another great option, let me help you decide if it would be a good fit for you! Click here to learn more.
All of these options depend on your diagnosis, the length of time you’ve been prescribed patching and your age. Talk to your
Why Did Pirates Always Wear an Eye Patch?
It’s very unlikely that every pirate in history was trying to treat their Amblyopia or Strabismus by patching. All of them losing one eye in battle isn’t very likely either. Although it hasn’t been confirmed with personal accounts, historians believe that pirates used patches to help them adjust to the dark. Without electricity, night vision was difficult. By patching one eye, it would be adjusted to the dark. When they had to go below the deck or had a surprise battle, they could switch the patch or remove it and they’d have an advantage in the dark. Cool, right? So pirates weren’t just a bunch of hooligans stabbing each other in the eye, they were brilliant at finding ways to adjust to dark conditions.