What are the aims of squint surgery?
In most cases, the aim of surgery is to improve the appearance of a squint by reducing its size; the surgery will not improve the vision. If the eyes do not work together as a pair, there will continue to be a tendency to squint throughout life, so that further operations are often necessary in the future. In some cases, the aim of surgery is to enable the eyes to work together as a pair, which may help keep the eyes pointing in the right direction in the long term.
What does the surgery involve?
The operation is done as a day case with no overnight stay in hospital. The surgery is performed whilst the child asleep using a general anaesthetic. In my practice, one of the parents is allowed to come into the anaesthetic room while the child is being put to sleep.
The operation takes around 45 minutes. The white skin on the eye, the conjunctiva, is cut to allow access to the eye muscles. These muscles will be adjusted either to weaken or to strengthen the muscle action and thus readjust the position of the eye. Depending on the type of squint either one or both eyes may need to be operated upon.
Will the operation cure a lazy eye or remove the need for glasses?
In most cases, children who need glasses will continue to need them after squint surgery. After surgery, a child who has had a lazy eye may still require treatment using patches or drops.
What happens after the operation
Parents are given eye drops containing an antibiotic and a steroid to put in their child’s eyes following surgery. Normally, if your child wears glasses they should continue to do so after the operation. Most children return to nursery or school after a few days.
The child should not go swimming until the eyes have returned to normal and are clearly white.
Your child will be seen by an orthoptist and the surgeon about two weeks after the operation and again after about three months to check the final result of the surgery.