Eye muscle surgery is performed in an attempt to correct an abnormal eye alignment (strabismus). Even though eye muscle surgery typically requires a general anesthetic, most people are able to return home within hours after the surgery is completed. During the surgery, the eye is never removed. The eyelids are held open with a speculum and the eye is gently rotated to bring the muscles into the surgeon's view. Small incisions are made on the superficial tissues of the eye, the conjunctiva. It is through these openings that the muscles are isolated, sutured, detached, and then repositioned and reattached back onto the eye. It may be necessary to perform surgery on one or both eyes. The eye muscles are reattached to the globe with sutures that absorb within 6-7 weeks. The conjunctiva is also sutured closed and the stitches will be absorbed within the first 2 weeks. Topical eye drops or ointment should be applied several times a day for a week. Discomfort may be moderate initially but should quickly improve within a few days. Recovery time is rapid. People are usually able to resume most of their normal activities within a week. Strabismus surgery is usually a safe and effective treatment for eye misalignment problems.
The two common types of eye muscle adjustment surgery are called RESECTION and RECESSION.
RESECTION is used to strengthen an eye muscle. A small piece of the muscle is removed from the end of the muscle. The muscle is then brought forward and reattached to the eyeball.
RECESSION is a weakening procedure. Eye muscles are made weaker by detaching and reattaching the muscle further back on the eyeball.
Both types of procedures change the “pulley” balance between the opposing muscle on the opposite side of the eyeball. It is this muscle re-balancing that causes the realignment or straightening of the eyes.