What to expect from Squint Surgery

Squint surgery:
The presence of a squint means the two eyes are not aligned properly due to an imbalance in the eye muscles. If the squint is of cosmetic concern, even when the glasses are worn then surgery can be considered. Squint surgery involves straightening the eyes by adjusting the eye muscles.

Who will perform my surgery?
The Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist, will perform the surgery with the presence of Anaesthetists in theatre.


Fresnel Prism

The stages of squint surgery:

First consultation – After discussing with the Orthoptists the patients wish for surgery, the Orthoptist will ensure the measurement for the squint is stable and assess the risk for double vision. An appointment will be made for you to see the Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist who will decide if squint surgery is reasonable at that present time. Also, any questions you may have can be answered.

Waiting list – Once the decision has been made to proceed with the surgery, you will be put on the waiting list. The waiting list can vary and no certain date can be given at the time of the consultation. We will post out an appointment or call once a date has been set for your surgery.

Day of the surgery – At present squint surgery takes place on a Thursday morning as a day case patient. Your child will attend the Day Surgery Unit (next to Women and Children’s Unit) and an adult above the age of 16 will report to Ophthalmic Surgical Unit to prepare for the operation.

You will be put under general aesthetic by the Anaesthetist.

Procedure – The surgery does not involve taking the eye out of the eye socket! There are small cuts made through the conjunctiva (the thin transparent skin covering the white part of the eye) and the muscles are then adjusted to straighten the eye. The stitches are dissolvable and will not need removing. After the surgery you will be sent to a recovery bay for a few hours.

After the surgery – After the operation, the eyes are not usually padded or bandaged. Any initial discomfort should soon wear off and paracetamol (Calpol) can be given if necessary. The operated eye will appear red/bloodshot following the surgery but this will settle over time. However, if there has been previous surgery to the same eye, it may take longer to settle. Drops or ointment containing antibiotic and anti-inflammatory are given.

Post-operative appointment – An appointment at the Outpatient Department will be given to attend usually the following week to see the Orthoptist and the Doctor and the decision to discharge or follow up will be made.

Complications – The most common complication is a reaction to the drops or stitches, both of which can easily be treated.
Some double vision is not uncommon after the operation, and usually settles after a few days but can occasionally persist.












1) How long will the surgery take?
The surgery tends to last no longer than half an hour depending on the procedure taking place.

2) Will I/or my child be under general anaesthetic?
Yes the surgery is taken under general anaesthetic.

3) Is there a time scale on when squint surgery can be performed?
The timing is dependent upon various factors and will be specific to each patient. Patients that have symptoms such as double vision or blurred vision or patients that are losing control of eyes that previously worked together, may require intervention at an earlier stage. For many patients there is no need for early surgery, indeed surgery may not be required at all. Your Orthoptist along with the Consultant Ophthalmologist will guide you in making that decision.

4) How long will I be off work / or my child be off school?
We usually advise no school/work for a week until you have been seen in the Outpatient clinic.

5) what if I/my child is not well enough on the day of the surgery?
If your child is not well enough please call:

The Day Surgery Unit (Thursdays only) between 08:00 and 19:00hrs
TEL: 01253 657 458.


The Children’s Ward between 09:00 and 16.00hrs
TEL: 01253 303 436.

Any further queries please call the Orthoptic Department on (01253) 953 457 or email us at: bfwh.orthoptics@nhs.net.