Information provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The Eye M.D. Association
How is Strabismus treated?
Treatment for strabismus works to:
- Preserve vision
- Straighten the eyes
- Restore binocular (two-eyed) vision
After a complete eye examination, an ophthalmologist can recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases, eyeglasses can be prescribed for your child. Other treatments may involve surgery to correct the unbalanced eye muscles or to remove a cataract. Covering or patching the strong eye to improve amblyopia is often necessary.
How is Strabismus surgery done?
The eyeball is never removed from the socket during any kind of surgery. The ophthalmologist makes a small incision in the tissues covering the eye to reach the eye muscles. Certain muscles are repositioned during the surgery, depending on which direction the eye is turning. It may be necessary to perform surgery on one or both eyes. When strabismus surgery is performed on children, a general anesthetic is required. Local anesthesia is an option for adults.
Recovery time is rapid. People are usually able to resume their normal activities within a few days. After surgery, glasses or prism may be useful. In some cases, further surgery may be needed at a later stage to keep the eyes straight.
For children with constant strabismus, early surgery offers the best chance for the eyes to work well together. In general, it is easier for children to undergo surgery before school age. As with any surgery, eye muscle surgery has certain risks. These include infection, bleeding, excessive scarring and rare complications that can lead to loss of vision. Strabismus surgery is usually a safe and effective treatment for eye misalignment, but glasses or amblyopia therapy often are needed as well.
Botox™, a new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for limited use, is an alternative to eye muscle surgery for some individuals. An injection of this drug into an eye muscle temporarily relaxes the muscle, allowing the opposite muscle to tighten and straighten the eye. Although the effects of the drug wear off after several weeks, in some cases, the misalignment may be permanently corrected.