Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Correcting a squint (adult)

5-minute read

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. Strabismus may be present all the time or only sometimes.

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).

Strabismus can also be caused by trying to correct short- or long-sightedness, or by poor vision in one eye as a result of amblyopia (or ‘lazy eye’).

Strabismus may not cause any symptoms. For some people it can be serious.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The aim of surgery is to improve the alignment of your eyes and reduce or stop any double vision.

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.

How can I prepare myself for the operation?

Helping your surgeon

If you have adjustable stitches, you can help your surgeon by relaxing, listening carefully and following the instructions they give you.

Lifestyle changes

If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Speak to the healthcare team about any vaccinations you might need to reduce your risk of serious illness while you recover. When you come into hospital, practise hand washing and wear a face covering when asked.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • chest 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
  • reduced blood supply to the front of the eye

Consequences of this procedure

  • scarring of the conjunctiva
  • pain

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.


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


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 ©

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 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Squint or strabismus: children & teens | Raising Children Network

A squint (strabismus) is when the eyes seem to look in different directions. A child with a squint needs treatment, so take them to a GP or optometrist.

Read more on website

Amblyopia (lazy eye) -

Amblyopia is a common cause of reduced vision in children, sometimes known as 'lazy eye'. Usually one eye is affected, but sometimes both.

Read more on MyDoctor website

Ophthalmologist: parents & kids guide | Raising Children Network

An ophthalmologist can help if your child has had an injury to their eyes or it looks like they have an eye problem or eye disease. Find out more.

Read more on website

Amblyopia (lazy eye) | Children's Health Queensland

Find out what causes a lazy eye (amblyopia) and how to support your child during treatment.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Glossary of Eye Conditions | Fred Hollows Foundation

Glaucoma, Cataract and Trachoma are just a few examples of many eye conditions and diseases that exist worldwide. Learn more with a list of common eye conditions and terms.

Read more on Fred Hollows Foundation website

Lazy eye or amblyopia: babies & children | Raising Children Network

Children with lazy eye (amblyopia) can’t see properly or at all out of one eye. Early detection and treatment can often fix lazy eye and prevent vision loss.

Read more on website

Short-sightedness - Better Health Channel

If you are short-sighted, you will have trouble seeing objects clearly in the distance and they will appear blurry.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Blepharospasm - Better Health Channel

Blepharospasm means involuntary twitching, blinking, closure or squeezing of the eyelids.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Blepharospasm - Brain Disorders A-Z - Brain Foundation Australia

Blepharospasm is a non-fatal, progressive neurological disorder involving involuntary muscle contractions & spasms of the eyelid muscles.

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Eye anatomy -

View this anatomical diagram of the eye, showing the eye structure, including the pupil, iris, cornea, retina and optic nerve.

Read more on MyDoctor website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.