What Is Strabismus Surgery and Do I Need it for My Crossed Eyes? By GW Eye Associates on January 20, 2023

A person with strabismus (crossed eyes)

The team at GW Eye Associates is ready to answer your questions about different treatments for eye conditions and vision problems. We’re happy to connect patients in La Jolla and Del Mar, CA, with vision solutions that make sense for their needs.

When it comes to strabismus, many patients wonder if their condition will require surgical care. Let’s cover some of the basics of strabismus surgery and what you can expect.

What Is Strabismus? Understanding the Basics

Also known as crossed eyes, strabismus is when one of your eyes is turned in a direction that differs from your other eye. This is often caused by issues with the eye muscles.

Causes of Strabismus

Often, crossed eyes are a genetic issue that runs in families. The condition can also be caused by poor vision in one eye, refractive errors that go untreated, cerebral palsy, head injuries, brain turmors, and stroke.

Will I Need Strabismus Surgery for My Condition?

Not necessarily.

Many patients are able to correct their crossed eyes through the use of eye patches, eye exercises, or even eyeglasses. Our offices in La Jolla and Del Mar, CA may be able to address your condition using prescription glasses with designer frames.

Surgery for strabismus is recommended when non-surgical treatments are ineffective or have limited results.

Can a Child Undergo Strabismus Surgery?


Strabismus surgery can be performed on children as young as four months old.

Performing strabismus surgery early in life can improve a child’s vision in the long run as the brain is developing. The need for surgery can be determined during medical visits with your child’s general practitioner or eye doctor.

Types of Strabismus Surgery

There are different kinds of strabismus surgeries that may be performed depending on the condition of a patient’s eye muscles:

  • Plication - Plication shortens the muscle in the eye by folding it over.
  • Resection - Resection involves shortening the muscle in the eye by cutting tissue.
  • Recession - Recession is when a muscle is moved to reduce tightness.

An additional adjustment surgery may be needed to address the sutures used during the initial procedure.

What Happens During Strabismus Surgery?

Strabismus surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia. Light sedation may be used instead for adults with strabismus in limited cases. Pain will not be an issue during the procedure.

Strabismus surgery can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to complete.

A speculum is used to hold the eye open during the procedure. An incision is made on the white of the eye in order to access the affected muscles. Once the necessary adjustments are made, the incision side it closed with sutures that dissolve on their own.

The Results of Strabismus Surgery

After resting and fully recovering from surgery, patients should notice an improvement in the position of their treated eye. Followup visits with an eye surgeon will help ensure an effective recovery, free from complications.

Want to Learn More About Treating Crossed Eyes? Contact Our Eye Care Professionals Today

Would you like more information about treating strabismus and other eye conditions? We’re ready to get you the answers you need. Please contact our team of eye doctors today. You can reach either of our locations by phone.

La Jolla, CA: (858) 454-4699

Del Mar, CA: (858) 755-9465

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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