Strabismus (squint) surgical intervention is not a cosmetic procedure
9 September 2016
The recently published GMC Guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic surgery is an important document aiming to promote high standards and improve patient safety. This guidance is for cosmetic procedures and refractive surgery.
The College recognises that botulinum toxin and surgical treatment for strabismus* are important procedures that are performed in children and adults to
- promote, improve or re-establish binocular function
- manage diplopia
- restore ocular alignment and balance
Restoration of ocular alignment is a reconstructive procedure which has been shown to significantly enhance quality of life and social function in both children and adults2-7.
Surgical intervention (including botulinum toxin injections) performed to achieve these aims is thus not a cosmetic procedure and does not fall under the GMC guidance for cosmetic surgery. Commissioning pathways for the management of squints reflect this.
Any cosmetic procedure or procedure not routinely funded by the NHS would need exceptions panel applications to be made on behalf of patients requesting them.
Professional Standards Committee
*A squint (strabismus) is a condition where the eyes point in different directions. Squints are common and affect around one in 20 children. They usually develop before five years of age, but can appear later. For more information visit NHS Choices
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