Surgery for Double Vision in Adults

At NYU Langone, surgery to align the eyes may be needed to correct double vision caused by strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes. It may also be the best option for people who do not experience any improvement with nonsurgical therapies, such as prisms and eye patches.

During this outpatient procedure, the doctor repairs the muscles surrounding the eye, which do not work properly in people with strabismus. General anesthesia is required.

The surgery can last from a few minutes to an hour, depending on whether one or both eyes need correction. Your doctor determines which muscles need correction and either tightens them using a resection procedure or loosens them using a recession procedure.

During the surgery, an instrument called a lid speculum keeps the eye open. The surgeon makes a small incision in the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the eye muscles.

If the surgeon is performing a muscle resection, he or she removes a section of the muscle to shorten it. The surgeon then reattaches the muscle closer to the back of the eye.

Your surgeon may use an adjustable suture to reattach the muscle. This allows him or her to shorten or lengthen the muscle to better align the eye in the first 24 hours following surgery. Doctors generally use this type of suture if they think it might be difficult to determine the position of a fixed suture due to scarring or inflammation, which can occur in people with strabismus.

After Surgery

A few hours after surgery, when the general anesthesia has worn off, you are given eye drops to numb the eyeball before your doctor makes any needed adjustments. After the procedure, you remain in the recovery room for a few hours. Then you are able to go home.

You may notice soreness and redness in the eye for several weeks after the procedure. To prevent infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and steroid drops, which are taken for a few days to a few weeks.

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