This handout will help you care for yourself at home after eye muscle surgery. The nurse will go over this handout with you. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or nurse.

After Eye Muscle Surgery

  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours or while taking narcotics.

  • You may eat a normal diet.

  • You may take your normal medicines, unless the doctor has told you not to do so.

  • Driving may not be safe for the first two days due to blurred vision and, in some patients, double vision. You may drive if you do not have blurred or double vision. To play it safe, do not count on being able to drive for about one week unless your doctor has specifically told you that it is okay.

What to Expect

You may have an eye patch over one eye especially if the doctor used an adjustable suture. You can expect a small amount of bleeding from the operated eye. Call the doctor if you soak the eye patch with blood.

If you do not have an eye patch, a small amount of spotty bleeding, swelling and bruising is normal. We suggest that you apply a cold, wet compress over your eye to reduce the swelling, bleeding, and soreness. Keep using the cold compress until bedtime.  Do not use Kleenex® or any washcloth that is not sterile.  Kleenex® has lint that can get into the eye and cause further swelling.

To Make a Cold Compress

  1. Always wash your hands before caring for your eyes.

  2. Soak a packet of 4 x 4 gauzes in a bucket of ice water. 

  3. Squeeze out the excess water and apply gauze over each eye. 

  4. Change the gauze when it is no longer cold (about 20-30 minutes).

Note: If you have an eye patch, do not use an ice compress on that eye. A dry, cold compress should be used over the patch.

Home Care

If the eyes are sore, remain quiet the first evening with your head raised to reduce swelling, bleeding, and soreness. Use the ice compresses as described.

If you wear glasses, they should be worn when you are up and around, unless your doctor told you not to wear them.

We will give you a prescription for either eye ointment or eye drops. Start using the eye ointment or drops the morning after surgery. Your eye doctor will tell you when to stop. The ointment or drops will help healing and prevent infection.  

To Apply Ointment or Drops

  1. Always wash your hands well with soap and water.  

  2. If the medicine is an ointment, you may want to run the tube under hot water for a few seconds to soften the medicine so it is easier to apply.

  3. Do not touch the tip of the tube or bottle. This will keep the ointment or drops clean.

  4. Tilt your head back and up.

  5. Hold the tube or bottle between your thumb and forefinger and place it as close to the eyelid as you can without touching it.

  6. Hold the other fingers against your cheek.

  7. With your 2nd finger, pull the lower lid down to form a pocket between the eyelid and eyeball.

  8. Squeeze a small amount of ointment or instill 1 – 2 drops into the pocket.

  9. Wipe any extra ointment off with a tissue.

  10. Put the cap back on the ointment tube or eye drop bottle and place it in a clean, safe place.

Note: The ointment may cause blurry vision for a few minutes until it dissolves.

Pain Control

You should only need Tylenol® or ibuprofen for pain relief. Your doctor will talk to you if you need something stronger.  

Follow-Up Visit

If you wear glasses, be sure to bring them with you. Start wearing the glasses as soon as you get up in the morning. Bring any eye medicine that we gave you. 


You may return to work ___________days after going home, unless your doctor tells you something else.

Avoid activities or injury to the affected eye.

  • No contact sports for _____ days.

  • No swimming for _____ days.

  • Do not get soap or shampoo in the eyes for the first week.

You have no restriction on reading, watching TV, walking, hiking and other such activities.

When to Call

Call your doctor if you notice either of these rare symptoms:

  • The operated eye turns in one direction and then does not move. This may mean one of the sutures has come loose.

  • A pus-like discharge from the eye that lasts throughout the day. It is normal to have some discharge from the eye when you wake up in the morning.

If you have any other questions or problem, please call your doctor.

Your doctor is _______________________.

Who to Call

UWHC Pediatric Eye Clinic, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm: (608) 263-6414

After hours, this number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the eye resident on call and leave your name and number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

The toll-free number is: 1-800-323-8942.