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Correcting a squint (adult)

3-minute read

This page will give you information about correcting a squint. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is strabismus?

Strabismus (or ‘squint’) is where one of your eyes points in towards your nose (convergent) or out towards your ear (divergent). Sometimes one eye may point up or down.

How does strabismus happen?

Strabismus in adults can happen because of disease that affects your eye muscles (such as thyroid eye disease and myasthenia), disease that affects the nerves to your eye muscles (such as high blood pressure and diabetes) or trauma (where a physical force is applied directly to your eye).

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your eyes should appear to move together and any double vision should improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Glasses or contact lenses can sometimes be used to control strabismus by helping your eyes to focus.

Double vision can often be controlled by wearing glasses with special prism lenses.

Botox injections into an eye muscle can temporarily straighten an affected eye.

What does the operation involve?

Illustration showing the muscles of an eye.
The muscles of the eye.

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 40 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a small cut on the surface membrane of your eye (conjunctiva). They will separate one or more eye muscles from the surface of your eyeball.

Using small dissolvable stitches, your surgeon will reattach the muscles, making them tighter or looser than they were before, depending on the correction that needs to be made.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • continued strabismus
  • worse strabismus
  • double vision
  • a slipped or lost eye muscle, muscle scarring or making a hole in the eye with a needle

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after a few hours.

Do not swim or lift anything heavy until you have checked with your surgeon. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery.

Summary

Strabismus surgery should make your eyes point in the same direction and improve any double vision.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2020


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