To evaluate the feasibility of intravenous sedation in addition to topical anesthesia during cataract extraction.
Helsinki University Eye Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Three hundred seventeen eyes of 291 consecutive patients having cataract surgery were prospectively randomized to receive topical (oxybuprocaine 0.4%, n = 96), combined (topical anesthesia and propofol sedation, n = 107), or retrobulbar/peribulbar (prilocaine 1.5%, n = 114) anesthesia. The intraoperative conditions were judged by the surgeon. A numerical scale (0 to 10) was used to assess the degree of pain during surgery. Outcome measures were the number of complications and adverse events registered perioperatively and 1 week postoperatively as well as Snellen visual acuity.
The success of posterior chamber intraocular lens (IOL) implantation through a self-sealing clear corneal incision was 97.9%, 96.3%, and 98.2% in the topical, combined, and retrobulbar/peribulbar groups, respectively. There was no difference among the groups in pain during surgery, frequency of complications, or outcome measures. One week postoperatively, visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 81.7%, 78.5%, and 77.5% of eyes in the topical, combined, and retrobulbar/peribulbar groups, respectively. The surgeon reported significantly fewer difficulties in the retrobulbar/peribulbar group (9.8%) than in the topical (26.0%) (P = .004) or combined (21.0%) (P = .036) groups. Additional sedative/analgesic medication given intraoperatively was required significantly more often in the topical (15.6%) than in the retrobulbar/peribulbar group (2.6%) (P = .002). Patients with bilateral surgery preferred combined anesthesia over retrobulbar/peribulbar anesthesia; however, there was no significant difference in patient acceptance among groups in patients having unilateral surgery.
Intravenous propofol sedation added to topical anesthesia did not improve the operative conditions or surgical outcome. Retrobulbar/peribulbar anesthesia ensured the best surgical conditions. Patients in all anesthesia groups reported high satisfaction. However, patients having bilateral surgery seemed to prefer combined anesthesia over retrobulbar/peribulbar anesthesia.