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Squint Surgery

Surgery to correct a squint may be recommended if other treatments aren't suitable or don't help.The operation involves moving the muscles that control eye movement so that the eyes line up better.

Process of Squint Surgery

Before Surgery

You'll attend a pre-operative assessment – some simple tests will be done to check that you can have the operation and you'll have the chance to ask any questions about it.

You'll be told when to come into hospital for the procedure and when you should stop eating and drinking beforehand.

You'll need to sort out how you'll be getting home – you can usually go home the same day, ideally with a friend or family member to escort you (as you may be sleepy); you won't be able to drive for at least a day or two if you've had surgery.

What happens during Surgery?

Squint surgery is done under general anaesthetic (where you're asleep) and usually takes less than an hour. You or your child can usually go home the same day.

If your child is having surgery, you'll be able to accompany them into the operating room and stay with them until they've been given the anaesthetic.

During the procedure

The eye is held open using an instrument called a lid speculum – sometimes it may be necessary to operate on both eyes to get the alignment right.

The surgeon detaches part of the muscle connected to the eye and moves it into a new position so that the eyes point in the same direction.

The muscles are fixed in their new position with dissolvable stitches – these are hidden behind the eye so you won't be able to see them afterwards.

Sometimes, in adults and teenagers, further adjustments to your eye muscles may be made when you've woken up after the operation. Local anaesthetic eye drops are used to numb your eyes for this.

After Squint Surgery

Following the operation, a pad may be put over the treated eye. This is usually removed the next day, or sometimes before you go home.

The eye is likely to be sore for at least a few days. You may be given painkillers to reduce discomfort and some eye drops to help with healing.

You may experience some of the following side effects:

  1. Eye pain – this tends to last at least a few days and often feels like grit or sand in the eye; taking simple painkillers such as paracetamol can help, although children under 16 shouldn't be given aspirin.
  2. Red eyes – this can last for a couple of months; you may also have blood in your tears for a day or two.
  3. Itchy eyes – this is caused by the stitches and it may last a few weeks until they dissolve; try not to rub your eyes.
  4. Double vision – this usually passes after a week or so, but can last longer.