Strabismus Surgery


Strabismus Surgery
at the Holy Cross Surgical Services

At our clinic, we are serious about eye health. We can help with your strabismus by offering adult strabismus surgery in Calgary at the Holy Cross Surgical Services, Rockyview General Hospital and pediatric strabismus surgery at the Alberta Children Hospital. If the surgery is the right choice for you, it will allow your eyeballs to function properly, eliminate double vision, and help you see and feel better.

What Is Strabismus?

Strabismus describes a condition where your eyes are not correctly aligned and point in different directions. It is commonly referred to as "turned" or "crossed" eyes. Strabismus is caused by the muscles in your eye not being balanced and working together to point your eyes at the same target. It can be caused by various health issues or head and eye injuries.

It affects an individual's vision as the eyes do not point in the same direction while staring at an object or person. When children have strabismus and grow up with it, eventually, the brain learns to ignore the image from the misaligned eye. However, many adults that develop strabismus experience double vision as their brain cannot ignore the secondary image.

In some instances, strabismus surgery may be an option to correct eye alignment and vision problems. You must see an ophthalmologist to determine if strabismus surgery is the right option for you.

Side view portrait of young ophthalmologist opening eye of female patient while checking her vision in med clinic

What Is Strabismus Surgery?

Strabismus surgery involves repositioning the eye muscles on the eyeballs to alter their function and better align the eyes. The goal of the surgery is to help the eyes work together. This promotes better binocular vision and can eliminate double vision.

The surgery does not correct vision in the individual eye. You will still need spectacle glasses post-operatively if you required them preoperatively. Well-aligned eyes also offer proven cosmetic, interpersonal, social, and professional benefits.

We can strengthen weak muscles during the surgery, weaken overly powerful muscles, and change the muscles' pull direction. Absorbable stitches are used during this procedure to reposition the muscles onto their new location on the eyeball.

Adjustable sutures involve fine-tuning the surgery under topical anesthetic after you wake from the anesthetic. This procedure, if right for you, can improve the success of your surgery. However, this is not always necessary and may not always be possible as it is only done with certain types of strabismus surgery. The patient needs to be very cooperative. Get in contact with our office if you're wondering if this is the right option for you.

Strabismus surgery is usually done under a general anesthetic. Rarely, a general anesthetic may not be used, and the surgeon will opt for local freezing instead if the general anesthesia is too risky for the patient.

During the surgery, we make a small incision in the conjunctiva. We will detach the muscle from its original location. Afterwards, we reposition the muscle to the new and desired location.

What Are The Risks Involved?

As with any other surgery, there are some risks associated with strabismus surgery. Serious complications resulting from this surgery are rare, but you may speak with your ophthalmologist if you have any concerns. Some risks that have been reported with strabismus surgery are:

  • Over/under correction resulting in a possible second procedure, there is a less than ten percent chance of this occurring. Perfect alignment is not always achievable and may not always be the goal.
  • Infections: You can manage minor infections with some extra eye drops. Serious infections are rare (1/10000) but could result in loss of vision or eye loss.
  • Small lumps, cysts, or persistent redness have been reported and are more common if you have had previous surgery. The redness will last longer if you have thyroid eye disease.
  • Eyeball perforations with the suture are very rare. If they occur, it is usually insignificant, but you may require laser surgery to seal the hole or treat a resulting hemorrhage.
  • A slipped or lost muscle is rare but would require a prompt second surgery or a prolonged intraoperative course.
  • Serious reactions to the anesthetic are extremely rare. They can include cardiac arrest, death, or other bodily injurie

Your surgeon uses pre-operative measurements (orthoptics) to calculate the amount of repositioning required and even which eye(s) should be operated on for the best possible results.

Cancellation Of Surgery

You must attend all pre-operative appointments to avoid the possible cancellation of the surgery. The pre-operative appointments allow us to get the pre-operative measurements that are essential for success with strabismus surgery. Suppose you miss your pre-operative appointments and your ophthalmologist does not feel that it is safe to proceed with the surgery. In that case, we may cancel your strabismus surgery.

You will receive a confirmation call or email from our office seven days before your scheduled surgery to give you your arrival time at the surgical center.

You must confirm your surgery to avoid cancellation.

If you need to cancel or postpone your surgery, please contact surgical booking as soon as possible at 403-245-3171. This must be done at least one week before surgery, or a $500 rebooking fee will apply. We will make exceptions for emergencies. However, that is up to the discretion of our office.