HF 4612

Caring for Your Child After Pediatric Eye Muscle Surgery

This handout will tell you how to care for your child after eye muscle surgery. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or nurse. Our staff is here to help you.

What to Expect

Your child may have an eye patch over the eye after surgery. Your child will have a small amount of bleeding from this eye. Call your child’s eye doctor if the eye patch is soaked with blood.

If your child does not have an eye patch, a small amount of spotty bleeding, swelling, and bruising is normal. If your child was sent home with an eye box, you can use the sterile solution and the sterile cotton balls if you need to clean the eyes. We suggest that you apply a cold, wet compress over the eyes to reduce the swelling, bleeding, and soreness. 

To make a cold compress:

  • Always wash your hands before caring for your child’s eyes.

  • Soak a clean washcloth or packet of 4 x 4 gauzes in a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out the excess water and apply gauze over each eye. Change the washcloth or gauze when it is no longer cold, about 20-30 minutes.

If your child has an eye patch, do not use an ice compress on that eye. Instead, use a dry, cold compress over the patch.

After Surgery

  • Your child may eat a normal diet.

  • If your child’s eyes are sore, he should remain quiet the first evening with the head raised to reduce swelling, bleeding, and soreness.

  • Use the ice compresses as described.

  • If your child wears glasses, he should wear them when he is up and around, unless your doctor has told you something different.

  • We may give you a prescription for either eye ointment or eye drops. Begin using the eye ointment or drops on _________________. Use it ___________ times a day until your child’s eye doctor tells you to stop. The ointment or drops will help heal the eye and prevent infection.

How to Give Your Child Eye Drops or Ointment

  1. 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.

  3. Do not touch the tip of the tube or bottle to keep it clean. 

  4. Have your child lie down or sit with his head tilted back. A younger child will need someone to support his head.

  5. Pull your child’s lower eyelid down with your fingers to form a little pocket between the eyelid and the eyeball. Support your hand on your child’s cheek.

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

  7. You may wipe any extra ointment off with a tissue.

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

The ointment may cause blurry vision for about 10 minutes until it dissolves.


Most often your child should only need Tylenol® to relieve pain. Your doctor will tell you if your child will need something else. You child may have ibuprofen if okayed by your child’s surgeon.

Follow-Up Visit

  • Your child should wear glasses to the first clinic visit, unless you were told something different. 

  • Bring any eye medicine that we gave your child. 

  • Bring the eye box, if you were sent home with one.


  • Your child may return to school or other normal daily tasks ______ days after going home.

  • No contact sports for ______ days.

  • No swimming for ______ days.

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

  • Your child may return to his normal hobbies.

When to Call 

Call your doctor if you notice either of these rare symptoms or if you have any questions:

  • 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 waking up in the morning.

Your doctor is _______________________.

Who to Call

UWHC Pediatric Eye Clinic: 

8:00 am-4:30 pm


(608) 263-6414 

Nights and weekends this number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the “eye resident on-call.” Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

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