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Eye Muscle Surgery

(757) 668-7000


Eye muscle surgery adjusts the muscles of one or both eyes to straighten them. The eyeball is never removed during this surgery.


Eye muscle surgery is done to correct eye misalignment ( for example, "crossed eyes", eyes that turn, and eyes that wander in/out or up/down). This may be seen at birth or develop as the child grows. It may only show when the child is ill, tired, or focusing on a close object. Reduced vision and poor depth perception can occur. Prompt treatment is needed.


How you explain the surgery depends on your child's age.

  • Very young children, three years or less, need a short, simple explanation the same day of the surgery. 
  • School-age and older preschoolers should know that they are coming to the hospital and that while they are sleeping the doctor will straighten their eye. Explain that their eye may feel like something is in it or it may itch. 
  • Older children may need more in-depth explanations in response to their questions. 


  • Your child's eye may be bloodshot. The redness may last a few weeks.
  • Your child may have some bloody tears.
  • Your child may be sensitive to light.
  • Your child may feel sick to his/her stomach for a day.
  • Non-aspirin pain reliever may be given for discomfort.
  • Parents are invited to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) soon after the child awakens.


  • Do not allow your child to rub the eyes. A cool damp cloth across the eyes may provide comfort.
  • Soft elbow restraints may be used to keep them from rubbing their eyes.  
  • Your child may wear dark glasses because the eyes may be sensitive to light.
  • Your child may resume non-physical activities. Ask your child's doctor when rough play, swimming, and physical education can resume.
  • Your child may watch TV or rest.
  • Eye ointment or drops may be prescribed. Your child's nurse will explain this to you before your child goes home.


  • Extreme swelling
  • Your child has severe eye pain.
  • Your child has white or greenish eye drainage.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5oF by mouth or rectally. Slight fevers after surgery may occur. You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime that first night after the surgery.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than six hours or the vomiting is severe. Your child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss. The signs of dehydration are: 
         ⇒ Dry mouth
         ⇒ Sunken look around eyes 
         ⇒ No tears when crying
         ⇒ Decreased amount of urine, which means fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant/toddler


    • After the operation, the eyes may look straight but the brain is adjusting and still learning to see. It is very important to continue your child's visits to the eye doctor until treatment is finished.
    • Please call if you have any questions or concerns. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

    Reviewed: 09/2018

    (757) 668-7000