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Strabismus Surgery in Children: What to Expect at Home

Your Child's Recovery

Your child had surgery to fix an eye problem called strabismus. The doctor loosened or tightened eye muscles and used small stitches to hold the muscles in their new position.

On the first day after surgery, you may notice some pink or reddish tears coming from your child's eye. The eye may be red for a week or more after surgery.

Your child may have some mild pain and swelling around the eye. But the pain and swelling should go away after a few days. Your child should be able to do most of their usual activities in a day or two. Make sure that your child goes to all follow-up visits so the doctor can be sure that the surgery fixed the eye.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for your child at home?


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart their medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for your child's pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can give an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If the doctor prescribed eyedrops, use the drops exactly as directed. To put in eyedrops or ointment:
    • Tilt your child's head back, and pull the lower eyelid down with one finger. Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid. Ask your child to close the eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around. Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your child's eyelashes or any other surface.


  • Your child can go back to their usual activities in a day or two.
  • For 1 week, do not let your child play sports with a ball or do any activity where their eye could get hit.
  • For 2 weeks, your child should not swim.

Other instructions

  • If your child's eye is sore and swollen the day after surgery, you can put ice or a cold pack on the eye for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel also works well.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of an eye infection, such as:
    • Pus or thick discharge coming from the eye.
    • Redness or swelling around the eye.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has new or worse eye pain.
  • Your child has vision changes.
  • It seems like there is something in your child's eye.
  • Light hurts your child's eye.
  • Your child's eye bleeds. A small amount of pink-coloured tears is normal for a day or two after surgery.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after they take pain medicine.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.