George Alexanian recently provided our Eyes Apart Strabismus Support Group with a list of questions he recommends for you to ask your strabismus surgeon. He did a great job with the list in the group, and has since refined it further. George graciously allowed me to post the list here so it can be easily found by group members as well as those visiting our Eyes Apart blog. George writes:
I am not a doctor and have no medical training, so I can only make these recommendations from my experience as a strabismus surgery patient. On the first consultation, I would ask the questions which will give you confidence in this surgeon, but only ask if he has not already answered them. Tell him that if he does not mind, you have some questions to put your mind at ease:
- How long have you done adult strabismus procedures, and how many have you done and with what success?
- What is my eye deviation in diopters?
- What is the largest diopter deviation you have done successfully? (Mine was 50.)
- How old was your oldest patient? (Only if you are older than 50-I was 63.)
- Do you see any potential complications in my case? (previous scarring, astigmatism, etc.)
- What percentages of your patients have eyes that have not drifted for at least five years?
- Will you get insurance approval for me? If the insurance will not cover it, what is my total out of pocket cost? (He may refer you to the person who handles scheduling, insurance approval, and payments.)
- Could I get a couple of recent patient references?
Once you have decided on this surgeon, then during the second visit or pre-op, I would ask:
- Do you recommend cutting muscles in both eyes or just one eye if the other is straight? (My surgeon held my straight eye in position while cutting two muscles in my deviated eye, but most will recommend doing both eyes for best results and reducing chance of double vision.)
- Do you recommend adjustable sutures or fixed sutures? (I had fixed, but most will recommend adjustable also for improved appearance and reduced chance of double vision.)
- How much greater are my chances of a successful procedure with adjustable sutures and doing both eyes at one time?
- How many muscles will you reposition in each eye?
- How long will the actual procedure take? (about one hour for me for one eye).
- What is the recovery time with adjustable and fixed sutures? (Adjustable will take longer with some discomfort,) and how long will I be out work or school? (In my case, I went to work two days later, but I am the boss and have a desk job.)
- Do you use the same anesthesiologist for all your strabismus procedures?
- What do you consider a successful procedure (How many diopters deviation and no double vision?)
You may have other questions, but the above are the most important in my mind.
In my case, in 2005, the surgeon scared me out of it with her recommendation of having to do both eyes, possible infection, over-under correction, and double vision, along with the possible complication due to scaring from a similar 1956 procedure. So I procrastinated until 2008. When all this possible negative stuff comes out, remember that this procedure has been around since the 1950’s (I had my first one in 1956 in France), so it is very common by now.
George Alexanian’s “Suggested list of questions for your strabismus surgeon” is Copyright by George Alexanian and Eyes Apart, and may not be used without written permission.
George has been helping people at Eyes Apart for a bunch of years now. We appreciate him so much. George “adopted” the My Strabismus Surgery area of Eyes Apart and provides excellent support for those considering or recovering from surgery. George also helps people via our email support group.
You can click the “older comments” link at the bottom of the My Strabismus Surgery page to see more comments, including George’s very helpful and encouraging responses through the years. Thank you, George, for all you do!