Roving Eye and Muscle Surgery

Sometimes a person may have an eye that doesn’t follow the other eye. This means vision is out of alignment and corrections need to be made to the extraocular muscles. These muscles are what move the eyeball in all directions. Eye muscle surgery is performed to strengthen, weaken, or reposition those tiny muscles to allow the eyeball to move with the other one.

The extraocular muscles are attached to sclera, which is the outer protective layer covering the eyeball. They are found in different places and the other ends are attached to the eye socket in the skull. This is what allows the eyeballs to move up, down, and to both sides and any angle between. This allows the eyeball to track together.

Normally both eyes would move together and give you a clear picture of what you are looking at. If the eyes do not move together, the brain receives two separate images and will either show a double vision or suppress one of the images. The main purpose is to adjust the eye muscles to straighten eye alignment.

The surgery may need to be performed on one eye or both. Muscles may be weakened, or tightened to make the eyes align with each other for a clear 3-dimensional picture.


Eye muscle surgery will also have a cosmetic benefit. It can be disconcerting to talk to someone who has an eye out of alignment. It is hard to know which eye to be looking into while you are talking. Other eye disorder that eye muscle surgery can correct is Nystagmus.

This is a condition when one or both eyes move rapidly or oscillate. Duane Syndrome is another disorder that can be helped by eye surgery. This condition is when there is little horizontal eye movement. Normally, muscles will be weakened to relieve the symptoms and allow more movement horizontally.

The surgery itself can be performed to weaken muscles, tighten them or reposition them. The procedure is designed for each individual and the correction that is needed for each patient. Small children may have this done around the age of two to correct any eye problems that is recognized.

Parents Be Aware

Many years ago, placing a patch on one eye and doing exercises, or reading or watching TV to strengthen the muscles in one eye treated a wandering eye. Now we have sophisticated surgery that easily corrects these problems in small children.

Patients should make their doctor aware if they are taking any medication, even over-the-counter medications. Especially tell your doctor if you are taking any blood-thinner medications. If you are, you will need to stop this medication for ten days before surgery. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight before this surgery.

Once the surgery is completed, the eye may feel scratchy but not painful. The eyes will be red and watery and there might be a little blood in the eye for a couple of days. This is just a bruise like one that would appear on your skin if you run into a door or piece of furniture. This surgery improves eye alignment for cosmetic purposes and for improved version.