Eye Health

15 December 2008

How is surgery for squint done?

The eyeball is never removed from the socket during any kind of eye surgery.


The eyeball is never removed from the socket during any kind of eye surgery. The ophthalmologist makes a small incision in the tissue covering the eye to reach the eye muscles. Certain muscles are repositioned during the surgery, depending on which direction the eye is turning. It may be necessary to perform surgery on one or both eyes.

A general anaesthetic is usually required. Recovery time is rapid. People are usually able to resume their normal activities within a few days. Often more than one operation is necessary to straighten the eyes and then to keep them straight. After surgery, glasses or prisms may be needed.

For children with constant strabismus, early surgery offers the best chance for the eyes to work well together. In general, it is easier for children to undergo such surgery before school age. As with any surgery, eye muscle surgery has certain risks. These include infection, bleeding, excessive scarring and other rare complications that can lead to loss of vision. Strabismus surgery is usually a safe and effective treatment for strabismus. It is not, however, a substitute for glasses or amblyopia therapy.

An alternative to surgery
Botox (TM), a drug, is an alternative to eye muscle surgery for some individuals. An injection of this drug into an eye muscle temporarily relaxes the muscle, allowing the opposite muscle to tighten and straighten the eye. Although the effects of the drug wear off after several weeks, in some cases, the misalignment may be permanently corrected.

Read more:
Laser eye surgery
What does laser eye surgery cost?
At what age can I begin to wear lenses?
If I need to, can I wear contact lenses after laser surgery


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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