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Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a clouding of the clear, transparent lens of your eye that prevents you from seeing clearly. This clouding can be corrected through cataract removal surgery.

At Eyes.com, we strive to provide you with thorough and accurate information so you can make an educated decision about your cataract surgery.

Importance of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a mandatory part of cataract surgery. The first anesthesia used for this procedure was general anesthesia, which required patients to spend the night in a hospital. Later advances used a local anesthesia that was injected behind the eyeball and is still widely used. Today, the use of topical anesthesia is increasingly popular because it reduces complications even further and allows for a more rapid recovery.

Types of Anesthesia

There are two types of anesthesia that you and your ophthalmologist can choose from:  

  • Local anesthesia: This is administered by injection on top of and underneath your eye. Local anesthesia eliminates any sensation of pain while preventing the movement of your eye during surgery. It also allows patients to return home the same day as the procedure.
  • Topical anesthesia: This is administered through special eye drops. Topical anesthesia eliminates pain and any risks associated with an injection, but it does not prevent your eye from moving around during the procedure. Patients are able to enjoy the benefits of cataract surgery faster, if not immediately. However, this can only be used by a highly-trained eye surgeon, as it requires the latest advances in cataract surgery (such as a clear corneal incision and a foldable implant).

Your surgeon will discuss with you the different types of available anesthesia.

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