MotherhoodandPotatoes asked for the questions we asked at Zoe’s eye appointment about the surgery, so here they are:

  • Would bifocals or a stronger prescription help? We talked about the possibility of bifocals, but she really felt like it wasn’t a problem of Zoe crossing her eyes more up close, or that a change in prescription strenght would make a difference.
  • What does the surgery actually entail? She showed us how they would get to the inner eye muscles (through the whites of the eye) to loosen them. The actual procedure is an in-patient procedure that should take no longer than an hour. She will need to go under general anesthesia.
  • What are the chances of needing surgery again? About 15 – 20% of those who have the surgery will end up needing another surgery, often not until their teens or later.
  • Is there a chance that you could over-correct and her eyes would point out? Yes, that is a risk, though it would require loosening the muscles too much. She didn’t seem to think it was an issue.
  • What is recovery like? Kids are pretty out of it for the rest of the day after surgery. Some are kind of tired the next day, but a lot of them are up and running around. Her eyes will probably be red for a few weeks after the surgery, and for the first week, we need to avoid swimming and only do sponge baths.
  • When should the surgery happen? In what kind of time-frame? She wanted us to schedule the surgery before the end of the year. Chris remembered that Zoe’s daycare will be closed the last week of August and my mom will be here to help anyway, so we decided to go for that time, even though we could have waited a bit.
  • Can we take Zoe to the state fair at the end of the week after the surgery? The State Fair in MN is a very. big. deal. Skipping the state fair should not be taken lightly. Luckily, her ophthalmologist didn’t think there would be a problem since we would be waiting 5 – 6 days.
  • Will she still need glasses? Yep, the surgery doesn’t change the fact that she’s farsighted, though her prescription may change.
  • Where will the surgery take place? We had our choice of the Phillip’s Eye Institute or the Children’s Hospital, but our ophthalmologist works more closely with the Eye Institute, and since we wanted to schedule right away, that’s where we’re doing it.
  • Who will do the surgery? She said she could do it, or she could refer us to someone.
  • Have you done the surgery often? Yes, she’s been doing the surgery for over 20 years, and does them regularly. We decided that since we like our ophthalmologist and since she knows Zoe’s eyes the best, we’d have her perform the surgery.
  • Will she have depth perception after the surgery? That the hope. That’s why we’re doing the surgery, and many children do develop depth perception after the surgery since their eyes are now working together, but it isn’t certain. She told a story about a boy who underwent the surgery almost 20 years ago. She recently heard from his mother, he’s in the army now and has been awarded medals for sharpshooting.

Questions I wish we’d asked

  • How do you determine how much or how little to loosen the muscle?
  • What percentage of children regain depth perception after surgery?
  • How often does the surgery result in over correction?
  • What exactly will we need to do right after surgery to care for her eyes? I assume we’ll learn this at the surgery, if not before.
  • How often will she need to be examined after surgery for follow-up? I assume we’ll learn this at the surgery or right afterwards.

Update: I called the ophthalmologist’s office to get some information about what we needed to do before the surgery and ended up asking to talk to Zoe’s doctor.  I asked about how she knew how much to cut the muscles and how likely it was that her eyes would be over-corrected.  (The fear of her over-correcting her eyes is for some reason my biggest fear).  She was very understanding and reassuring and didn’t make me feel silly at all for asking.  Basically she said she was following standard guidelines based on how much Zoe’s eyes cross, and that she was being conservative in how she approached it.  She reiterated that she really felt this was the best treatment for Zoe right now, and that Zoe will still need glasses afterwards.  I’m feeling a bit better after our talk.

3 responses to “questions

  1. Thank you so much for this post. It’s quite useful. Often, when I’m in the middle of a situation, I never remember all the questions that should be asked. Thanks again for this list. I will bring it to our next appt if the situation of surgery comes up.


  2. Things they don’t tell you.

    1. Time is of the essence, get it done earlier rather than later.
    2. If it’s a teaching hospital do not allow residents to work on your child, assisting is fine, but not working.
    3. Pediatric anesthesia is delicate, ask to meet the anethesiologist and find out who will intubate your child.
    4. With the inner (medial) muscles, your child will cry blood when he/she wakes up. It is disgusting and shocking, hopefully this will take the shock away.
    5. You do not want them to fall or jump for a month post op. Do not let your child watch any TV leading up to the surgery, the TV will be your best friend post op, it will keep your child still.

    You can do this. It’s okay and difficult and too much to explain but you can do it and your child deserves it. My understanding is the earlier the better.


  3. GREAT questions! I wish I could find my list so I could see if there was anything to add! It looks pretty much just like our list- AND great add on of things they DON’T tell you!
    Ann- I like you was SOO scared that Braden would be over-corrected, it was also my biggest fear from surgery.


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