Your child’s strabismus operation – what to expect.

Before the operation:

Preop visit:

  • Check vision – better vision will help the eyes stay together after the operation
  • Check the eye position measurements
  • Discuss any new medical health issues/medications
  • Discuss postop strategies, risks, answer questions

Need to do:

  • Admission forms – sign, deliver
  • Glasses – if the glasses have prisms, collect glasses with no prism for use after the operation
  • Chemist – make up antibiotic ointment, bring to hospital
  • Time off – school, no swimming for 1 month

Day of op:

  • NB must be well
  • Bring ointment with you to the hospital

Preop anaesthetic check:

  • Discussion/check with the anaesthetist

In theatre:

  • One parent/carer is encouraged to come into theatre with your child until they are asleep. The anaesthetists are very experienced with children. Their anaesthetic induction techniques vary depending on the child.
  • Bring your antibiotic ointment with you into theatre, for us to use at end of the operation.
  • At the end of the operation, antibiotic ointment and anaesthetic drops are put into both eyes.

In Recovery:

  • You will come into recovery and be with your child as they wake.
  • The eyes will have lots of ointment and look red.
  • Dr Dunlop will give you some postop information and medication sheet
  • Glasses on when fully awake.
  • Remember to take home your antibiotic ointment from the hospital


  • Put some more ointment into the operated eye/s when you go to bed later at night ie when your child is asleep
  • Your child will sleep well through the night

Next day:

  • Put some antibiotic ointment into the operated eye/s. This will lubricate the surface and reduce irritation/tearing.
  • The eyes will be red and blurry from the ointment.
  • Glasses must be on and hopefully both eyes open.
  • Dr Dunlop will check the eye position, discuss how to use the ointment (it is “soft”) and any concerns.

Postop period:

  • Use medications as per postop instruction sheet
  • Eye position – this will vary while the eyes heal
  • Glasses on – this will keep the vision clearer
  • Eye exercises – the operation has loosened the muscles. Stretch eye exercises prevent tightening of the muscles again.

Glasses check at 6 weeks:

  • Dr Dunlop will recheck the eye refraction measurements with dilating (cycloplegic) drops
  • The glasses may need updating postop. Clear vision is important to keep the eyes aligned.


  • Vision – if the vision is not clear the eyes may turn/change position. Eye measurements change as children grow, so glasses need to be updated, especially after growth spurts.
  • Eye muscles – continue stretch eye exercises to stop tightening of the muscles
  • Further operations may be required, perhaps when your child is an adult starting reading glasses.