Update on my situation
I am still patching to this day. So I can say with certainty, for me at least, that patching can offer relief for at least several months
I routinely test without a patch to see if there are any changes being made from patching that may let me one day not need to wear one, and the results have been positive and frustrating at the same time. Prior to patching, I couldn't go more than a second or two without feeling symptoms. After about 7 months of patching, I can sometime go up to a few minutes now with no symptoms. It is agonizingly slow progress, but it is progress. It is also unpredictable, there are times to this day where on some days I still can't stand even a second or two of a bad computer display. However, I have noticed significant improvement with my sensitivity to LED light bulbs, oddly enough. I can spend hours in a room with them and be just fine. That was an incredible discovery for me.
For specifics, I patch during work hours, so around 8 hours a day, but I take frequent breaks and work on non computer related tasks whenever I can, so I would say in an average day I actually stare at a screen with a patch on maybe 1-2 hours.
I have presented this information to several opticians and vision specialists, and as suspected they were all baffled and useless in explaining what was going on. they agreed that since the patch helps it has to be something to do with my binocular vision, but what that was they had no clue. They recommended adding prism to some lenses, so I had some custom lenses made up and they didn't help at all. another $150 down the tubes.
Anyone have a good source on firm, paper eye patches? I got some from my eye doctor, but all I can find are the soft padded ones which suck since they don't hold a concave shape and press on your eye.