Squint or strabismus surgery is a complex area of eye surgery that involves operating on the muscles that control eyemovements. There are 6 muscles that attach to the eyeball and each one moves the eye in a different direction. Neural processes in the brain are responsible for keeping the eyes straight and combining the images seen by each eye, into one image.
Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, patients may develop a turned eye and double vision. The misalignment can be horizontal, vertical, torsional or any combination of these. When this happens, thorough examination and measurements of the eyes is required and special tests may be ordered by the doctor to determine the cause of the misalignment.
Squint surgery, usually under general anaesthesia, may be recommended to improve cosmetic appearance and correct double vision. The surgery involves altering how the muscles attach to the eye. In cases with large misalignments, it may be necessary to operate on both eyes. The surgery may also have to take place in stages if the misalignment involves a combination of directions. Successful squint surgery may work well for some years but in reality, there is always the possibility that further surgery may be necessary.
Neural processes within the brain are responsible for fusing the images seen by each eye and also for keeping the eyes straight. In people whose eyes are not straight these processes are not working properly for a variety of possible reasons.
Misalignment of the eyes may be any of horizontal, vertical, rotational or a combination of these. The decision to consider surgery is usually based on the symptoms associated with the misalignment as well as with cosmetic issues.
Where the neural processes to keep the eyes straight are poor, successful squint surgery may work well for some years but in reality there is always the possibility that further surgery may be necessary.
Surgery may also have to be staged if the misalignment involves a combination of directions.
Surgery is most commonly performed as a day procedure under a general anaesthetic. Occasionally local anaesthetic may be all that is necessary. The surgery involves altering how the muscles are attached to the eye. It may be necessary to operate on both eyes to correct a squint, for example, if the eye has a very large turn.
After the surgery there may be some double vision. Usually this resolves over the following weeks. The eyes do appear red but discomfort is not usually an issue.