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When your child is having strabismus surgery

When your child is having strabismus surgery

You are probably reading this because your child’s doctor has recommended surgery to improve your child’s eye turn. Information about the surgery and care required after the surgery is what you will find below. If you need to know more about the eye turn please read the other booklet titled “My child has strabismus – what does that mean?”

What is done in strabismus surgery?

In strabismus surgery the weak muscles are tightened and the tight muscles are loosened so that the eyes now have a better position. The surgery is done under general anesthesia. Only the muscles attached on the outer surface of the eyeball are dealt with making this an extra-ocular surgery and thus a very safe surgery. No skin around the eye is cut thus there will be no scars after the surgery. No lasers are used. Absorbable sutures are used during the surgery and will not need removal.

What should I expect my child’s eye to look like after the surgery?

  • Your child’s eye may or may not be patched after the surgery. If the eye is patched it may be removed by the nurse before discharge. Sometimes the patch is required for longer and you are sent home with the patch on the child’s eye. Your doctor will inform you as to when should the patch be removed.
  • If your child’s eye is not patched or once the patch is removed, the eyes may appear slightly swollen or red. This may persist for a few weeks. The swelling starts to decrease first followed by the redness.
  • Your child may experience some discomfort or pain in the operated eye. This is nothing to get anxious about and is normal. Your doctor will advise you some medication for the same.
  • Sometimes children may complain of double vision after the surgery. This usually disappears once the child gets used to the new position of his or her eye muscles.
  • Your child may have pinkish tears or blood tinged tears coming from the eye for a few days after the surgery. Again this is not something that you should get worried about. This discharge from the eyes will gradually decrease over the next few days after surgery.

What the post operative instructions that I need to follow?

Your child’s doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops and sometimes an eye ointment for the operated eye. You will be required to use the medications as advised. Usually these medications are continued for a maximum period of one month.

For a week after the surgery rough outdoor activities like playing outdoors or contact sports should be avoided. Swimming should also be avoided for 3 weeks after surgery. Your child however could watch TV, use the computer and play some light games at home.

You should avoid giving your child a head bath for about 1 week after the surgery. A bath below the neck can be given. The face can be wiped with a wet cloth. You should take care not to let water, soap or shampoo enter the eye.

You must also remember that if the redness increases, if the pain increases and if your child complains of decrease in vision then you must bring the child immediately to your child’s doctor.

When does my child need to be seen after the surgery?

Your child’s doctor will advise you as to when the child has to be seen at the clinic. Usually the child is the next day after the surgery. After that the child may be seen after one week or directly after one month.

Will my child need glasses or patching after the surgery?

Usually surgery does not change the need for glasses or patching after the surgery. If your child was wearing glasses before the surgery there is a high probability that he or she will wear glasses after surgery. Sometimes surgery forms only part of the treatment for your child’s eye condition. Yes patching may be required after the surgery too. Please ask your child’s eye doctor if you have any further questions.