An extensive literature search covering the last 35 years was undertaken to retrieve all English language articles reporting results of surgical management of infantile esotropia. Only 27 of the 48 studies retrieved met the minimum criteria which we established for inclusion in our analysis. The success rate for achieving some level of binocular vision was 22% in 1286 patients, while the overall cosmetic success rate was 63% in 2113 patients. Newer surgical procedures appear to be more effective in achieving cosmetic success. Although controversy still exists about the optimal time for surgery, the most reasonable approach appears to be the concept of performing surgery as soon as an accurate determination can be made of the deviation and associated characteristics, and only after attention has been directed to any accommodative component and treatment of amblyopia. Although approximately 60% of patients referred for surgery can be expected to achieve cosmetic improvement after the first operation, the need for multiple surgery is common. There is a trend toward recurrence of the strabismus, and the need for short interval, long-term optometric follow-up is essential.