Strabismus surgery explanation

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Strabismus refers to the condition of having a squint. More specifically, each eye looks in a different direction, thus the normal alignment of both eyes is affected. Happening usually to infants, strabismus needs early treatment because it is harder to treat misaligned eyes at an advanced stage. Children above 6 months are too late to get perfect strabismus treatment. Sometimes two or more strabismus procedures within a decade can be more effective.

Preoperative measurement and evaluation

Before strabismus surgery, the surgeon will measure the deviation of the patient’s eyes and use a nomogram for consultation, which is the comparison standard based on the surgical outcomes of thousands of patients. In this way, the surgeon can determine how far to treat muscles on each eye. The measurement and evaluation are usually quite accurate.

Details of strabismus surgery

Through a small incision in the outer covering of the eye, the surgeon of strabismus procedure will access the outer or extraocular muscles. Of course, this process will be guided by the measurement got during the preoperative preparation. The procedure never removes the eye from the socket. Eye alignment is a relative concept. A common instance is that children with esotropia always have one eye turned in while the other is fixating on an object, or vise versa. That is why in some cases, both of the two eyes are treated during a single surgery.

Visual outcomes and potential complications

Strabismus surgery can significantly improve binocularity. Most strabismus kids can perform visual tasks in a normal way that both eyes are used together. This coordination between two eyes is a basic yet critical visual ability during lifelong for each person. But the surgery is also associated with potential risks. Besides undercorrection and overcorrection, small risks e.g. infection, bleeding or excessive scarring, will possibly occur. Strabismus procedure is oftentimes covered by most insurance plans.

Strabismus surgery and amblyopia

Strabismus surgery has nothing to do with amblyopia. These two conditions differ from each other greatly. An amblyopic patient typically has a strong, normal eye and a weak eye. The strong eye plays a dominant role in viewing most objects, whereas the weak eye provides little help. Differently, strabismus involves an abnormal alignment of the eyes. In most cases, amblyopia should be resolved before a strabismus procedure. Patching after strabismus surgery is needed only if there is an amblyopia before the surgery.