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If you’re considering eye surgery to correct your child’s strabismus (crossed eyes), you undoubtedly want to know more about the recovery process before you make your final decision.
Rest assured that Dr. Kim Cooper, a board-certified ophthalmologist in Burlingame CA, specializes in correcting childhood eye diseases, including strabismus. If she has recommended eye surgery for your child, she has full confidence it will greatly benefit your child’s vision development.
The patient transfers directly from the operating room to the recovery area. Constant monitoring continues until the patient is fully awake and breathing tubes are removed. Usually one family member is invited into the recovery room.
Soon, the patient is moved to a step-down area where more family members can visit. IVs are removed and clear liquids are offered. Popsicles are especially popular with children.
Don’t worry about excessive eye rubbing. Your child can’t harm herself or affect surgery results. We provide a cool, moist washcloth for your child to place over her eyes for more soothing comfort.
Expect excess secretions immediately following surgery. Within the first few hours, tears may be tinged with blood, which is normal. For a few days following surgery, mucus may secrete from the operated eye. You can wipe this away with a moist cloth, but if your child resists, there’s no harm in letting the secretions dislodge by themselves.
Also expect some bruising on the eyelid and the eye surface, making it appear bright red. Bruising should dissipate within two weeks, though some degree of redness may linger for a few months. Over time, minimal eye scarring may remain, but to the casual observer, your child’s eyes will look properly aligned and completely normal.
Eye alignment should improve immediately following surgery. Bruising and swelling may obscure the results for a few days. Remember, sometimes double vision takes days or even weeks to completely resolve.
While reports of pain range widely, the typical experience for first-time operations is moderate pain that over-the-counter painkillers can treat. Eye drops are also available to decrease inflammation and control pain. Discomfort may last for a few hours to several days. Adults generally appear to experience more discomfort than children during recovery.
Most patients can return to a relatively normal activity level within a few hours to a few days of surgery. Wearing glasses is permitted immediately, though contacts may not be comfortable for a few weeks. Your child should avoid swimming or contaminating the eyes with soap or shampoo for several days. In general, if the activity doesn’t cause pain, it’s acceptable to participate in.
For answers to your remaining eye surgery questions, or to schedule a consultation with a Burlingame CA ophthalmologist, please call 650-259-0300.