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Is Eye Muscle Surgery Safe?

The solution to eye problems is a surgery to correct the problems of strabismus functioning (also called “crossed eyes”). Strabismus can cause both vision and social problems. The doctor may recommend eye muscle surgery if the strabismus has not improved with glasses or exercises for the eyes.

Ocular surgery is done by an ophthalmologist, a surgeon who specializes in eye diseases. The goal of eye muscle surgery is to align the muscles of the eye in the correct position and help them move properly. In most cases, the eyes are aligned immediately after surgery.

Strabismus is a disorder in which the two eyes do not line up in the same direction. Therefore, the eyes do not look at the same object at the same time. The condition is more commonly known as “crossed eyes” (convergent strabismus).

Is Eye Muscle Surgery Safe?

Is Eye Muscle Surgery Safe?

No intervention is risk-free. In the case of eye muscle surgery, the inherent ones are, on one hand, the technique itself and, on the other hand, those of the type of used anesthesia. The most frequent risk, although it is not a risk, is the result of the intervention itself, that is, a new intervention cannot be allowed and other severe injuries inherent to the intervention itself, to any muscle damage or rupture, as well as to the ocular perforation when anchoring the muscle again. These risks are rare in expert hands.

Do not forget the most important risks, which are those inherent to anesthesia, which vary greatly if it is a local anesthetic (it is used in adult patients), or if a general anesthesia (used in children who do not collaborate) is required. To assess these risks, it will be necessary to have an anesthesiologist who is accustomed to handling this type of interventions and patients, since it will sometimes be performed in children in the first years of life.

Before The Eye Muscle Surgery

The Ophthalmologist Surgeon Can Request:

– A complete clinical history and physical examination before the procedure.

– Orthoptic measurements (measurements of eye movements).

Approximately 10 days before eye muscle surgery, you may be asked to stop taking acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, warfarin, or any other anticoagulant.

On the day of eye muscle surgery, you will be asked not to drink or eat anything for several hours before the procedure.

The Ophthalmologist Surgeon Can Request?

The eye muscle surgery will usually last between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

  • The doctor will inject an analgesic near your eye so you do not feel anything during the eye muscle surgery. Usually, you will be awake and sleepy, but you will not feel pain.
  • The surgeon will make a small incision (cut) in the transparent tissue that covers the white part of the eye. This tissue is called conjunctiva.
  • Then, the surgeon will find the eye muscles that are having problems.
  • A section of the muscle or tendon could be shortened, or it could be reattached in another part of the eye.
  • An adjustable stitch may also be placed. This will allow the surgeon to make minor corrections when the patient is fully awake.

What Will Happen After The Eye Muscle Surgery?

  • If the surgeon has placed an adjustable stitch, you may have adjustments made before you return home. This usually will not cause pain.
  • Most patients return home the same day of eye muscle surgery. The surgeon may recommend that you stay longer in the hospital based on your general health.
  • Most people will be able to resume all their normal activities in a few days.

The strabismus that has a perfect correction is one that depends exclusively on the need to wear glasses. In these cases, the patient has poor vision and makes efforts to see, which cause a deviation of the eyes. When this deviation is totally subordinated to this effort, strabismus can be corrected by the use of glasses. When the deviation is not corrected with glasses or only partially corrected, a surgical intervention with an aesthetic purpose will be necessary, so that this deviation is aesthetically insignificant after the intervention.


No invasive procedure including eye muscle surgery is completely risk-free, including mortality, although this possibility is very infrequent. Some complications include hypo and hypercorrections, an unsatisfactory cosmetic result that occurs in 10 to 20% of surgeries, also internal eye infection (endophthalmitis), and severe alteration of the eye circulation. (ischemia of the anterior segment of the eye)


  1. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. (n.d.). Strabismus Surgery. https://aapos.org/glossary/strabismus-surgery
  2. MedlinePlus. (2021). Eye Muscle Repair. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002946.htm
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Strabismus Surgery. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/strabismus-surgery

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 17, 2023

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