Patching in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

An Alternative to Patching

If one eye is weaker than the other, such as in the case of a lazy eye, one method that is used to train the brain to work with both eyes in an optimal manner is patching. This means the stronger eye is closed with a patch, forcing the brain to learn to work with the weaker eye. This method presents advantages and disadvantages. The main challenge with this approach is the fact that we shut down the functionality of the stronger eye for a period of time with the goal of strengthening the weaker eye. This could compromise the stronger eye since it doesn’t get used for some time. Once we stop using the patch, then the brain needs to relearn how to use both eyes together simultaneously which could present a challenge.


Monocular Fixation in a Binocular Field

There is a wonderful alternative to patching and that is monocular fixation in a binocular field, in short MFBF. This allows both eyes to be open while training and strengthening only one eye at a time, avoiding the need to shut one eye off. In order to achieve the MFBF effect, filters are used. For example, during a vision therapy session, a child is given the task of completing a maze on a paper by tracing the right path to the way out using a red marker. In that case, we would place a green filter in front of the lazy eye or weaker eye that we are working to strengthen. Since there’s a green filter in front of the eye, this specific eye is still able to view the target and perform the task of completing the maze. The other stronger eye which does not require training at the moment, is open however there is a red filter placed on top which prevents this eye from seeing the target. It means that both eyes are open but the weaker eye must meet the challenge to complete the task all on its own. By keeping both eyes open but using filters, we can control which eye is receiving the strength training and which visual signals the brain is able to perceive.

Monocular Fixation in a Binocular Field

Common Questions

Yes, there is an alternative to closing one eye with a patch for a period of time. The alternative method allows both eyes to stay open while using filters to control which eye is actively being trained. This avoids the challenges that come with keeping one eye shut for a period of time. Using filters to strengthen the weaker eye while the stronger eye is open but not participating in the activit, is called monocular fixation in a binocular field.
MFBF stands for monocular fixation in a binocular field. This means that one eye is being trained to properly fixate while the other eye is open but not participating in the activity. This provides many advantages as it enables one eye to be trained at a time, without the need to completely shut off the alternate eye. The other eye can remain opened but using filters it is separated so that it won’t interfere with the training of the eye that is currently being strengthened.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


There are various methods available nowadays which allow one eye to participate in a vision therapy activity at a time. Patching closes off the stronger eye, forcing the brain to learn how to work properly with the weaker eye. The alternative method of MFBF employs filters to keep both eyes open but to enable the focus to be on one eye at a time. To schedule a functional vision exam, please call (360) 491-2121. Patients with functional vision issues visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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