A squint is the common term used to describe misaligned eyes. The technical term is strabismus. Common forms are when one eye turns inwards and is cross-eyed (esotropia), or outwards and is wall-eyed (exotropia).
Squint surgery is often done in children, but can also be required in adults. Squint surgery is eye muscle surgery, and is done by Ms Naz Raoof, the paediatric ophthalmologist, neuro-ophthalmologist and squint surgeon at Clinica London. There are many causes of squints in both children and adults, and the assessment with Ms Raoof will explore this. This blog will explore what to expect if you require squint surgery.
After you or your child have been fully assessed by the Orthoptist and Ms Naz Raoof at Clinica London, Ms Raoof will tell you whether you will benefit from squint surgery. There are six muscles that move each eye, and these can be operated on to improve your eye alignment if you have a squint. The exact muscles, whether it is one of two eyes that should be operated on, and how much surgery needs to be done all depend on your particular squint.
A common squint is an in-turning eye, also called an esotropia. This is very commonly seen in children. If this is the case, the medial rectus muscles of each eye (muscles in the inner corner of the eye that pull the eye in) will be relaxed back a little bit. An alternative is to operate on just one eye, where the inward pulling muscle will be relaxed back, and the outward turning muscle (called the lateral rectus) will be strengthened.
Ms Raoof’s decision as to whether to operate on one or two eyes is entirely dependent on the features of each individual squint. The orthoptist has measured the squint with a cover test and prisms and will work out whether the squint is more for near or for distance. Ms Raoof can then work out how to realign the eye muscles in the best way to give you straighter eyes. Muscles can be weakened (recessed), resected (strengthened), advanced (pulled back into place if they have slipped over time from where the should be following previous surgery) or transposed (moved to a new position on the eye to act in a new direction).
After squint surgery, you put drops into the affected eye four times a day for up to four weeks. These are usually antibiotics with a little bit of steroid; the antibiotic protects against infection and the steroid helps the inflammation settle more quickly. It is to be It is to be expected that the eye will be red after surgery. Ms Raoof will see patients one week after surgery and then at 4-8 weeks after. Each time there will first be an assessment by his orthoptist who will measure the vision and how much a squint has improved.
Squint surgery can improve the quality of life of both children and adults by treating double vision and restoring a more normal alignment of the eyes, leading to improved self-esteem, confidence and interactions with others.