Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anesthesia Blocks for Cataract Surgery

Question: My mother recently had cataract surgery and is having a difficult time with blood behind the eye.  Her cataract surgeon said he had to use a "block" on her.  What does that mean?  I can't find anything on the internet that talks about a "block' during cataract surgery.

Answer: There are a number of ways in which cataract surgeons can anesthetize the patient and their eyes for cataract surgery. Today, rarely if ever is general anesthesia used as the main types of anesthesia are “topical” or “blocks” when performing routine cataract surgery. Topical anesthesia is typically achieved by instilling several sets of eye drops in the eye and the surface of the eye-and in almost all instances some oral tablets are administered to relax the patient. Blocks can be of several types including a “retrobulbar block” whereby the anesthetic is placed in the space behind they eye with a needle, a “regional block” of the areas around the eye, a “sub-Tenon’s block” or even a combination of anesthesia techniques. All of the approaches to cataract anesthesia provide adequate pain control, and serious problems are rare. As a result, the choice of technique usually comes down to a physician’s preference and comfort level and any concerns or preferences the patient may have.

Important Note: The information presented on the About Cataract Surgery Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask Cataract Surgeons section on is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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