You or your child had eye muscle repair surgery to correct eye muscle problems that caused crossed eyes. The medical term for crossed eyes is strabismus.
When You're in the Hospital
Children most often receive general anesthesia for this surgery. They were asleep and did not feel pain. Most adults are awake and sleepy, but pain free. Numbing medicine was injected around their eye to block pain.
A small cut was made in the clear tissue covering the white of the eye. This tissue is called the conjunctiva. One or more of the muscles of the eye were strengthened or weakened. This was done to position the eye properly and help it move correctly. The stitches used during the surgery will dissolve, but they may be scratchy at first. Most people leave the hospital a few hours after recovery.
- The eye will be red and slightly swollen for a couple of days. It should open fully within 2 days after surgery.
- The eye may be "scratchy" and sore when it moves. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) by mouth may help. A cool, damp washcloth placed gently over the eye can provide comfort.
- There may be some blood-tinged discharge from the eye. The health care provider will prescribe eye ointment or eye drops to use after the surgery to help the eye heal and prevent infection.
- There may be light sensitivity. Try dimming the lights, closing curtains or shades, or wearing sunglasses.
- Try to avoid rubbing the eyes.
Double vision is common after surgery for adults and for children age 6 years and older. It is less common in younger children. Double vision most often goes away a few days after the surgery. In adults, an adjustment is sometimes made to the position of the eye muscle to refine the results.
You or your child can go back to your normal activities and exercise within a few days after surgery. You can return to work, and your child may go back to school or daycare a day or two after surgery.
Children who have had the surgery can slowly go back to a regular diet. Many children feel a little sick to their stomach after surgery.
Most people do not have to wear a patch over their eye after this surgery, but some do.
There should be a follow-up visit with the eye surgeon 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery.
When to Call the Doctor
Contact your provider if you or your child has:
- A lasting low-grade fever, or a fever higher than 101°F (38.3°C)
- Increased swelling, pain, drainage, or bleeding from the eye
- An eye that is no longer straight, or is "way out of line"
Repair of cross-eye - discharge; Resection and recession - discharge; Lazy eye repair - discharge; Strabismus repair - discharge; Extraocular muscle surgery - discharge
Coats DK, Olitsky SE. Strabismus surgery. In: Lyons CJ, Lambert SR, eds. Taylor and Hoyt's Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 88.
Olitsky SE, Marsh JD. Disorders of eye movement and alignment. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 641.
Robbins SL. Techniques of strabismus surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 11.13.
Review Date 8/22/2022
Updated by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.