Combined sedation and topical anesthesia for cataract surgery

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2000 Jan;26(1):109-13. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(99)00330-2.


Purpose: To determine whether lidocaine jelly is as efficacious as tetracaine drops for obtaining ocular anesthesia and to evaluate sublingual lorazepam as premedication for sedation in cataract surgery.

Setting: An ambulatory surgical center dedicated to ophthalmic surgery.

Methods: The study was divided into 2 phases. In the first, 100 patients were divided into 2 groups of 50 each. The first group received tetracaine 0.5% drops for anesthesia. The second group received lidocaine 2% jelly for topical anesthesia. In the second stage, 100 patients were divided into 2 groups of 50 each. The first 50 patients were given 1 mg of sublingual lorazepam before surgery. The second group had cataract surgery without sublingual lorazepam. All patients were operated on by the same surgeon in an ambulatory surgical center. The technique was temporal clear corneal cataract surgery with foldable intraocular lens implantation. Exclusions from the study were the need to convert to peribulbar or retrobulbar anesthesia, intraocular complications, and altered mental status.

Results: In the first phase of the study, lidocaine 2% jelly was as efficacious as tetracaine 0.5% drops for topical anesthesia in cataract surgery. In the second phase of the study, overall, patients in the lorazepam group had less anxiety, greater amnesia, and lower blood pressure than those not receiving lorazepam as sedation for topical anesthesia.

Conclusions: Lidocaine 2% jelly combined with sublingual lorazepam provided excellent cost-effective anesthesia and sedation for topical anesthesia in cataract surgery and enhanced patient satisfaction with the procedure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / economics
  • Anesthesia, Local / economics
  • Anesthesia, Local / methods*
  • Conscious Sedation / economics
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lorazepam / administration & dosage
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Phacoemulsification*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tetracaine / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gels
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Tetracaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Lorazepam