Eye muscle surgery, officially called strabismus surgery, is used to correct misaligned eyes and is done by the use of surgical techniques on the extra ocular muscles.
There are seven muscles in total within the eye these are the
- Levator palpebrae superioris
- Superior rectus
- Inferior rectus
- Lateral rectus
- Medial rectus
- Superior oblique
- Inferior oblique
Definition of misaligned eyes
When we look at an object our eyes are both aimed at one object creating two images the same that are sent to the brain where it fuses the images together and creates a three dimensional image.
If one eye is out of line with the other then the images sent to the brain differ greatly, when this occurs the brain will, in a lot of cases, dismiss one of the images and only use one of the images sent for visual purposes.
When this occurs in young children it can have dire consequences as the child’s brain only takes one image causing development of vision to become limited as the image sent may miss a lot of images of visual importance and the eye sending images that are unused may not develop much further at all.
Adults are less likely to have the brain ignore one of the images sent because their brains has become used to receiving two sets of signals, due to this adults can receive double vision as one image is placed on top another.
Treatment to rectify misaligned eyes
The goal of surgery is to rectify vision by realigning the eyes; this normally involves repositioning the unbalanced eye muscles or removing conditions that are causing the eye to turn inwards or outwards.
The surgery involves making an incision into the eye so the surgeon can access and assess the muscles within the eye, the surgeon will be able to decide on which muscles are causing the problem.
The surgery works by shortening or lengthening the eye muscles, and in some circumstances moving the muscle into another position to provide the best alignment possible.
Treatment is normally carried out under general anesthetic although in some circumstances may be carried out under local anesthetic in adults.
Post surgery the patient can normally go home after recovery from the general anesthetic and should see the eye start to recover in a matter of days.
Over one million, two hundred thousand people in the United States of America alone have strabismus surgery every year and it is the third most common surgery to the eye in the U.S.
Strabismus surgery is advancing at a fast pace with new techniques being designed and implemented constantly. When it comes to surgery, although eye surgery to the muscles is very invasive it is also a very safe, low risk surgery.
If a medical professional has put you forward for strabismus surgery then think of it as a way forward to correcting your visual impairment, after all it is a safe surgery that will undoubtedly increase the clarity of your vision to a satisfactory level.
Image: Kate Whitley, Wellcome Images