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Newcastle Eye Centre

Paediatric Squint Surgery


IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

A squint is a condition in which one eye is out of alignment, ie. one eye looks straight ahead whilst the other eye turns inwards, outwards up or down. If a squint is noticeable an operation can be done to adjust the position of the eye. The aim of this is generally to improve the cosmetic appearance of a squint. It does not aim to improve the eyesight of the squinting eye.

The decision to go ahead with squint surgery is made jointly by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), orthoptist, parent or carer and the child.

Squint surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic as a day case operation and does not normally require an overnight stay.

The paediatric nurses on the children's unit of Ward 20 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) care for children who are having squint surgery.

Before your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

Once your child has been added to the waiting list for squint correction surgery you will be sent an appointment to come to the children's eye clinic in the Claremont Wing at the RVI for a pre-assessment visit.

During this visit your child will see an orthoptist who will carry out some assessments including measurement of the squint and checking your child's vision.

You will also be seen by one of our paediatric nurses, who will ask you questions about your child's health, discuss what to expect on the day of your child's operation, and give you the date on which the operation will take place.

They will take you to see the ward to have a look around and give you and your child the chance to ask any questions you may have about the operation.

Squint correction surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and so your child will not be awake during the operation.  The nurse will explain the anaesthetic procedure for you. An ophthalmologist will also see you during your visit, to discuss the operation and go through the consent procedure with you.

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

On the day of the operation your child will be admitted onto the children's unit based on Ward 20 first thing in the morning, from 7.45am to 8.00am and can be accompanied by two parents or carers.

The paediatric nurses will discuss everything that is going to happen during the day and carry out some final checks of your child's health. You will be seen again by an ophthalmologist and also by an anaesthetist.

When it is time for your child's operation you will be able to go up to the theatre area with them, and one parent or carer can go into the anaesthetic room to stay with them until they are asleep.

The surgery usually takes about 45 minutes but your child will be away from the ward between 60 and 90 minutes. Whilst your child is in theatre you can go back to the ward and wait, or go elsewhere - you will not be allowed to wait in the theatre area.

After your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

Once the operation is over you will be able to go up to the recovery area to be with your child as they wake up from the anaesthetic. Your child will then be brought back to the ward. They will need to stay on the ward until they have had a drink and something to eat and the nurses are happy that they are well enough to leave.

Before you leave staff will give you information about caring for your child's eyes after surgery as well as pain relief and eye drops.   They will also give you an appointment to come back to the children's eye clinic for a post-operative check. You will be given a telephone number for the paediatric nurse team in case there are any problems after the operation.

Immediately after squint correction surgery, your child's eye will be sensitive to light and may water more than usual. Their eye may also be slightly swollen and may look as if a slight squint is still present. Your child should not be in a lot of pain, but their eye may feel sore or gritty for 24 to 48 hours after the operation.

The amount of time your child has off school following the operation depends on how quickly they are recovering, although a minimum of one day is recommended. 

It is important to bring your child back for the outpatient appointment as arranged. Your child wore glasses before the operation they will need to continue to wear them, and treatment for the vision in the squinting eye such as patching may still be required.
 

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