Cataract surgery can be daunting enough without worrying about the administration of anaesthesia beforehand. Yet this is a normal part of most surgeries that can increase a patient’s nerves and raise questions. For those who don’t like needles, the good news is that when it comes to your cataract surgery with KindSIGHT, there is another option available to you – the ‘no-needle’ method known as topical anaesthesia.
How does anaesthetic for cataract surgery work?
Throughout typical cataract surgery procedures, patients will remain awake (although relaxed & drowsy). This is because it eliminates the risks associated with general anaesthesia (where you are put into a deep sleep) and enables your surgeon to communicate with you during your procedure.
In standard cataract surgery, drops are given prior to the anaesthesia, to first numb the surface of the eye. Then, an injection of local Anaesthetic is made around the eye. The block ensures you can’t feel anything but requires you to have an eye pad for up to 24 hours = no vision. Many patients are curious about pain when it comes to the anaesthetic injection, but the truth is this varies from person to person.
The ‘no-needle’ method explained
Topical anaesthetics are a needle-free way of administering anaesthesia prior to commencing cataract surgery. This method allows your cataract surgeon to eliminate the risks associated with needle injection and allows for post-operative eye drops.
Additionally, topical anaesthetics are in many cases a more effective way to meet modern patient needs and requests when it comes to obtaining immediate results while minimising pain and minimising downtime. Visual recovery, in general, can be quite fast (functional vision within 2-3 hours after surgery)with topical anaesthesia, making it a popular choice for many patients.
While not suitable for every procedure, advances in surgical technique and technology (for example smaller incisions and foldable IOL’s) have led to the increased use of this method.
What are my anaesthetic options?
Topical anaesthesia can be administered either by eye drops, by eye drops with intracameral lidocaine injection, and in gel form.
If you’re planning or scheduled to have cataract surgery, your eye specialist is the best person to help advise you on your anaesthesia options. They will make a recommendation based on the complexity of your case and any other factors that might impact your surgical procedure.
If you’re considering cataract surgery or would like to talk to an eye specialist about topical anaesthesia, contact our friendly KindSIGHT team on 07 3063 1600