The aftermath of strabismus surgery

When we were first told Olivia would need Strabismus surgery, the doctor filled us with a lot of ‘worst case scenarios’. They said that unlike the cataract surgery, Olivia would be in a lot of pain for quite a while after this one. We were told she could not touch or rub her Nemo eye at all during those first few days postop which is so daunting for the mother of a one year old to hear! We prepared the house for every single scenario – had all her favorite movies ready, her favorite snacks and macaroni on hand and every medicine she could possibly need. We were even ready to put an air mattress in her room next to the crib in order to watch her all night to be sure she didn’t wake up and start rubbing her eyes.

I am so happy to report that in our experience, the best case scenarios played out! When Olivia woke up from anesthesia, she was groggy but smiled right away. Her eye did secrete a few bloody tears which is completely normal for the type of surgery she had done. We could see a lot swelling and her eye was a beet, deep red color. She kept it somewhat closed due to the swelling but we could see her eye at all times so we know she kept it open – at least a little. Despite the look of her eye, she seemed to be in little to no pain and she as happy to see everyone, including the nurses and was even chatting up a storm.

Our drive home was rough trying to get her to leave her eye alone since it was night time and she was pretty done with the car seat. But when we got home, Olivia played with all her toys without skipping a beat. Olivia did her normal bed time routine with the introduction of her perscribed Tylenol dosage and her parents watching her like hawks in the camera. She ended up waking up a couple of times that night but got through without needing more medicine – but did need quite a bit of night time nursing sessions. In the morning we gave her children’s tylenol as soon as she woke up and every 4-6 hours after that. We did that very consistently for about 5 days. On day 6, we just watched her for signs of discomfort and if I felt she was hurting I would give her the Tylenol. By the time a week post op was through, Olivia was no longer taking Tylenol and was back to sleeping through the night without constant nursing and comfort. We continued to put the goopy eye ointment in her Nemo eye every morning and every night until the tube was completely gone – which took about 3 weeks.

After just one week, we could see a huge difference in the orientation of Olivia’s eye! It would look directly at us. Our surgeon did such an amazing job that her eye was right in the center. The redness slowly dissipated and revealed her gorgeous baby blue iris looking straight ahead. Now this surgery did nothing to change how much she can currently see. She still can’t see very much through her Nemo eye (which soon became painfully clear when we started patching again) but having her pupil forward gives her the best chance to gain more vision. In theory, more light will go through the front of her eye which will create more opportunities for more vision.

We are over the moon with how well Olivia handled this surgery and of the results so far. We are looking forward to getting back to our routine and to just keep patching.

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