Resection and recession

Alternative names
Repair of cross-eye; Eye muscle repair; Lazy eye repair; Strabismus repair

Definition
Eye muscle repair is surgery to align eyes or correct eye muscle abnormality (strabismus).

Description

The surgery is most commonly done on children, but is also performed on adults with similar problems.

While the child is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), a small incision is made on each side of the eyeball in the tissue between the eye and eyelid (conjunctiva). One or more of the muscles of the eye are strengthened (resected) or weakened (recessed) to allow proper position and movement of the eyeball. After a few hours of recovery, the child may go home.

The surgery for adults is similar. Adults are usually awake or sleepy, but pain free. Often, in adult surgery an adjustable suture will be used so that minor adjustments can be made later that day or the next day. This technique usually gives a very good result.

Indications
Surgery may be recommended when strabismus or eye crossing does not respond to medical or optical treatment.

Risks
Risks for any anesthesia are:

     
  • Reactions to medications  
  • Breathing

Risks for any surgery are:

     
  • Bleeding  
  • Infection

Other possible complications include:

     
  • Wound infections  
  • Damage to the eye (rare)

Expectations after surgery

After surgery, the eye will be red for a couple days. The eye alignment is usually immediate.

One important note, the surgery does not fix a lazy or amblyopic eye, so a child may have to wear glasses or continue to patch an eye. In general, the earlier in a child’s life the operation is performed, the better the result. The eye should appear normal a few weeks after the surgery.

Convalescence
Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Usual activities and exercise can usually be resumed a few days surgery.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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