If your child will be having eye muscle surgery in the near future, you may have many questions at this point as to what will happen before and after the surgery. Please review the following information, which should answer many of your questions. If you have other questions that are not answered here, please take the time to write them down so that we may answer them for you during your pre-operative appointment.
Eye muscle surgery is done as an outpatient procedure at the hospital, most often under general anesthesia. Before the surgery, we take careful measurements of the eye position which enables us to determine which muscles to operate on, whether we will operate on one or both eyes, and how much need to move the muscles to achieve good eye position after the surgery. Taking these measurements may involve several appointments. We are very careful because the success rate of eye muscle surgery is not 100 percent. The success rate of eye muscle surgery is 60-80 percent. This means that on average, 7 out of 10 persons who undergo eye muscle surgery will achieve a good result with only one procedure. The remaining three persons may, at some point, be benefited by additional surgery for good eye position. The success rate of each surgery is always the same, 60-80 percent.
Strabismus surgery to correct the eye position is a commonly done procedure. It does not involve cutting into the eyeball, nor does it require that the eye be “taken out” in order to reach the muscle. A small incision into the transparent covering of the eye (the conjunctiva) is made to reach the muscle. The muscle is then repositioned and attached with tiny sutures, and the conjunctiva is also closed with tiny sutures, which will dissolve by themselves over the next 1-2 weeks. Once the surgery is completed, your child may go home after awakening. Most patients spend several hours in the outpatient surgery area and go home in the mid-afternoon if the surgery was done in the morning. In most cases, there are no patches or bandages over the eyes following the surgery. Glasses, if worn, may be re-started after the surgery. Please do remember to bring them with you on your postoperative visit. If your child is wearing a patch, we will discuss this with you at the time of the first postoperative visit.
After the surgery, the eyes will be quite red in the areas where the surgery was done and may have a jelly-like swelling. This is normal and will clear over the next few weeks. Sometimes, the redness spreads before clearing, but do not be alarmed. Antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed for use after the surgery and will be used for 5-7 days, according to the doctor’s instructions. The discomfort following eye muscle surgery is usually minimal with a foreign body sensation in the eyes or some discomfort on the movement of the eyes for a day or two. Pain medicine is usually not necessary; however, you may use Tylenol as needed. Some people may experience a transient double vision after the surgery. This is a normal part of healing as the brain must “get used” to the new position of the eyes. The double vision is usually completely gone within a few days of the surgery, but in some instances may last longer.
It is important that children who have had eye surgery stick to “light physical activity” for ten days following the surgery. Basically, this means no exercising, PE, running or jumping, or heavy lifting during the ten days. After the ten days, it is fine to swim, preferably using goggles until the redness has gone away. We usually see patients who have had children's eye muscle surgery within the first few days postoperatively, then the next week, and then six weeks postoperatively. The healing process is gradual and will take six weeks to complete.
Your confidence in allowing Thomas Eye Group to care for your child is highly valued. We are always available to answer your questions and hope you will feel free to let us know if there is anything we can do to make this time easier for you. You can reach us by contacting any of our convenient locations.