While the child is under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free), a small incision is made in the tissue between the eye and eyelid (conjunctiva).
One or more of the muscles of the eye are strengthened (muscle resection procedure) or weakened (muscle recession procedure) to allow proper position and help the eye to move correctly.
After a few hours of recovery, the child may go home. The surgery for adults is similar. Adults are usually awake or sleepy, but pain-free. Often, in adult surgery, an adjustable suture will be used so that minor adjustments can be made later that day or the next day. This technique usually gives a very good result.
Why Surgery Is Performed
The children’s eye muscle surgery may be recommended when strabismus or crossed eyes does not respond to medicine or glasses. Surgery does not always have to be the only answer.
With surgery, there is always a risk. Speak to your doctor and weigh your options. It might be worth it to get a second opinion as well, just to be sure on surgery. Other options include orthoptics, an eye muscle training program and vision therapy.
After surgery, the eye will be red for a couple of days. The corrected eye alignment is usually immediate. One important note, the surgery does not fix the poor vision of a lazy or amblyopic eye, so a child may have to wear glasses or continue to patch an eye.
In general, the earlier in a child’s life the operation is performed, the better the result. The eye should appear normal a few weeks after the surgery.
This surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Usual activities and exercise can be resumed a few days after surgery. Surgery is necessary for optimum visual function. After surgery, glasses or prisms may be used.
Occasionally, there may be further surgeries. As with any surgery, there is always a risk involved. However, this type of surgery is generally considered to be safe and effective.
When it comes to strabismus surgery, which is generally a children’s eye muscle surgery, it’s natural to want the best treatment. There is nothing wrong in seeking a second opinion. Some doctors may say that surgery is the only answer.
This is unfortunate, because surgery does not have to be the answer all the time.