Eye Muscle Surgery

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Your child has had eye muscle surgery. Here is what you can expect after the surgery.

What to expect after surgery

  • Your child may be sleepy for a little while after surgery.
  • Your child will have bloodshot eyes, bloodstained tears, and pink drainage from the nose and eyes. This is normal for most children, although it does not happen with every child. The redness will gradually go away after several days. The drainage should gradually go away after 2 to 3 days.
  • Your child might have double vision, or see two things instead of one. Use caution.
  • Your child may complain of nausea (upset stomach). Do not give your child food or liquids at this time.
  • Clear liquids may be given 1 to 2 hours after coming home, but it is best to wait until the child says he is hungry. Then you may give a small amount of clear liquids. It is best not to give your child liquids until after the ride home. Give water, apple juice or sprite as first liquids. For babies use breastmilk, formula or water.
  • Your child may have regular foods after nausea is gone and he has been able to keep liquids down.
  • Plan to stay home with your child the rest of the day. He will need rest and to stay away from any rough play.
  • Your doctor might prescribe eye drops or eye ointment. Use as directed.

How to prevent infection

  • Wash your child's hands often to avoid having him rub his eyes with dirty hands.
  • It is all right if your child rubs his eyes gently.

To give comfort

  • A cool, clean cloth may be put on the child's eyelids to help the swelling go down.
  • Lights may be dimmed and window blinds closed to help your child sleep quietly.
  • A little pain is expected and is best relieved by sleep.

Doctor's orders

  • You may use children’s Tylenol® to help with any discomfort.
  • Follow the instructions on the label to find the number of tablets or amount of liquid to give your child.
  • Read the label each time before you give your child this medicine.
  • This medicine should be given every 4 hours for pain for the next 3 or 4 days.
  • If your child has severe pain that is not relieved by acetaminophen, call your doctor.
  • Side effects are rare, but if your child has nausea or vomiting, skin rash or bruises, stop giving this medicine and call your doctor.

Activity and limitations

  • Your child may get out of bed when he feels he can. Stay with him to make sure he is steady when walking.
  • Encourage normal play after 24 hours from the surgery.
  • No swimming is allowed for at least 1 week after surgery. Be sure to ask your doctor about this. No tub baths or hot tubs. Your child can shower or sponge bathe for 1 week after surgery.
  • Usually children may return to school or child care the next day.

Safety tips

  • Give the exact amount of medicine as ordered by your doctor.
  • Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • If your child or someone else takes too much of this medicine, first call the Central Ohio Poison Center at (614) 228-1323 or 1-800-682-7625 (TDD 614-228-2272). They will tell you what to do.

When to call the doctor

Call your child's doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Temperature over 101 F under the arm (unless the doctor or nurse tells you otherwise).
  • Increased in drainage, increased swelling or increasing pain.
  • On-going vomiting that prevents your child from keeping liquids down.

Follow-up appointment

If you have questions or your child has complications, call:

  • Your child's doctor
  • Outpatient Surgery at (614) 722-5200
  • The Surgery Center at (614) 722-2920
  • Or, in an emergency, call the Hospital operator at (614) 722-2000 and ask for the surgeon on call for your doctor.

Eye Muscle Surgery (PDF)

HH-I-109 4/83, Revised 8/17 Copyright 1983, Nationwide Children’s Hospital