Mr Nicholas Glover  - Consultant Cataract & Vitreoretinal Surgeon
Anaesthetic Options for Cataract Surgery

Once a patient decides to have cataract surgery, the patient and surgeon will discuss plans for the surgery, such as the anaesthesia that will be used, the patient's expectation for his or her vision, and what the patient should expect during and after the surgery.

Local Anaesthesia 

Commonly, cataract surgery is performed with topical anesthesia. This is accomplished by instilling a very strong numbing medication into the eye..

This is the least risky form of anaesthesia and most patients do extremely well with topical anaesthesia.

Sometimes, medication is injected around the eye socket to numb the eye and paralyse eye and eyelid movement. These injections require the eye is padded until the anaesthesia wears off the following day.

Local Anaesthesia and Medication

In addition to the use of anaesthesia for the eye, It is sometimes accompanied by medication in the patient's arm intravenously to help him or her feel relaxed and comfortable. This can still be carried out as a daycare procedure but will require a longer stay in the hospital and for the patient to be accompanied at home that evening.

General Anaesthesia

On occasion, general anesthesia may be needed. Since cataract surgery performed with topical anaesthesia requires patient awareness and cooperation, general anaesthesia is usually required for children, patients with developmental delays, and patients with advanced dementia. 

During cataract surgery, patients must lay flat and still; therefore, patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease or restless leg syndrome, may also require general anesthesia.

Patients who have difficulty breathing while lying flat, or who have back or neck pain/disorders that prevent them from being comfortable when lying flat may also require general anesthesia for cataract surgery.