Post-operative care following squint surgery in adults

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1156/2020
  • Departments: Ophthalmology Department, Orthoptic
  • Last Updated: 28 December 2023


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team. 

What will happen after the squint surgery?

Immediately after the operation, your eye(s) may be red, swollen and may feel sore and gritty. Your eye(s) may be watery and your vision may also be blurry. 

The redness will fade with time and can take up to 12 weeks to settle. Rarely the white part of the eye does not fully return to its normal colour. Eventually there is usually little visible evidence that you have had squint surgery.

The position of your eye(s) may vary over the first few weeks following surgery, and will take time to settle. Immediately after surgery you may experience fleeting double vision, this should resolve quickly and it is important you do your best to ignore the second image and avoid looking for it.

You should have been advised by the team about the most appropriate glasses to wear after the surgery. If you were wearing a prism before the squint surgery please follow the advice given to you on whether you need to continue to wear this.

You should avoid wearing any contact lenses in the operated eye(s), and driving until you are advised it is safe to do so by the Orthoptist or the Ophthalmologist (eye doctor). 

Will I need any eye drops after the surgery?

On the day of the surgery you will be prescribed eye drops and be shown how to instill these by the nursing team. You should start the drops on the day they are prescribed; usually this will be on the day of the surgery. You will need to put the drops in 3-6 times a day for approximately 2-4 weeks following the surgery or as prescribed by the surgeon. Before and after instilling the drops it is important to wash and dry your hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection. Please ensure you store the drops as per instructions. If you are required to use more than one set of eye drops, please ensure you leave 15 minutes between instilling each type of drop.

There will be some discharge from the eye(s) operated on. You will be shown how to effectively bathe the eye(s) in order to keep them clean and limit the risk of infection.

It is advisable to have a supply of painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to use if you are in pain. The pain usually does not last for more than a few days; however there may be some discomfort on eye movement for a little longer, particularly with repeat squint surgeries.

Try not to rub your eye(s) as this could loosen the stitches and may increase the risk of infection. It is also important to avoid products like soap and shampoo getting into your eyes as these will cause irritation and discomfort. 

How long will it take to get back to normal?

You should be able to return to work 1-2 weeks after surgery. You should not drive for 48 hours after a general anaesthetic, or if you have any double vision. Visual activities like reading and watching television can be resumed right after the surgery unless advised otherwise by the healthcare team. Normal activity can be started again as soon as you feel ready.

Swimming and rough sports should be avoided for four weeks. 

It is important to avoid dirty and dusty environments for at least 2 weeks or until the eye has had a chance to heal fully.

Will I need to attend for Follow-up appointments?

You will be given a post-operative appointment two weeks after the surgery to see the Orthoptist. The Orthoptist will check the position of the eye(s) and that it is healing properly. The Consultant who carried out the surgery will be on hand in case there are any issues. In some circumstances a second dose of drops may be prescribed. 

Your post-operative appointment should already be arranged, but please ensure you are aware of the follow-up appointment before leaving the hospital on the day of discharge following squint surgery.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Orthoptic Department on telephone (01482) 816605.

QR code to open leaflet