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Correcting a squint (adult)

2-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.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is strabismus?

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

How does strabismus happen?

Strabismus in children is usually related to how their eyes focus. Strabismus in adults can happen because of disease that affects your eye muscles, or disease that affects the nerves to your eye muscles.

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 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 and takes about 40 minutes.

Your surgeon will separate one or more eye muscles and reattach them, making them tighter or looser than they were before, depending on the correction that needs to be made.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection

Specific complications

  • continued strabismus
  • worse strabismus
  • double vision

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.

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

Last reviewed: September 2018

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