Sixty premedicated, ASA physical status I or II patients weighing > 25 kg scheduled for elective retinal detachment repair were randomly assigned to receive either peribulbar block with 10 ml of 0.25% bupivacaine (block group) or intravenous morphine 150 microg.kg-1 (morphine group), prior to the induction of general anaesthesia (n = 30 in each group). Patients were evaluated for intra-operative oculocardiac reflex, peri-operative pain relief, recovery from anaesthesia and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Apart from significantly reducing the incidence of oculocardiac reflex (30% vs. 70%, p = 0.0019), peribulbar bupivacaine also attenuated the severity of the reflex. Postoperative pain relief was superior in the block group. More block group patients had the maximum recovery score in the immediate postoperative period (80% vs. 27%, p < 0. 0001) and they achieved complete recovery significantly faster than the morphine group (17.3 (14.7) min vs. 66.7 (29.7) min, p < 0.0001). The incidence (40% vs. 77%, p = 0.004) and severity of postoperative nausea and vomiting were significantly less in the block group. In summary, peribulbar bupivacaine, when administered together with general anaesthesia, attenuated oculocardiac reflex, provided comparable intra-operative and superior postoperative analgesia, resulted in significantly earlier and better recovery from anaesthesia, and significantly reduced the incidence and severity of postoperative nausea and vomiting.