Eye muscle surgery is done to correct the position of the eyes. The goal is to make the eyes appear straight rather than turned inward, to the side, up or down.
This surgery can be used to treat almost anyone, regardless of age, who has an incorrect alignment of the eyes. However, some unusual conditions are better handled with other treatments. These include a fibrous band in the place of the eye muscle or a nerve palsy of the eye muscle.
Surgery on the eye muscles is commonly done on children. General anesthesia is needed in these cases. Adults may tolerate having the procedure with only local anesthesia. The procedure is almost always done on an outpatient basis in a same day surgery setting.
Before surgery is started, precise measurements are taken to gauge the degree of muscle imbalance. These measurements are often performed on more than one office visit. This determines how much surgery is performed on the eye muscles. The first step in the operation is to detach the eye muscle from the side of the eyeball. The muscle is then reattached at a new position.
The stitches that are used do not have to be removed after surgery. If the muscle needs to be tightened, a portion of it is removed or a tuck is made before it is reconnected to the eyeball. After surgery on the eye muscle is complete, the mucous membrane layer that covers the muscle is put back into place. It, too, is also secured with stitches that dissolve over time.
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Griffith, H. Winter. Instructions for Patients. Philadelphia:W.B. Saunders company,1994.