Purpose: To assess the effect of sub-Tenon's anaesthesia on intraocular pressure (IOP) prior to cataract surgery.
Methods: Fifty consecutive patients undergoing phacoemulsification of cataract were recruited. Routine sub-Tenon's anaesthesia was administered with 5 ml unpreserved 2% lignocaine. IOPs were measured immediately prior to and at 1, 3, 5 and 10 min after injection. Efficacy was assessed subjectively by the operating surgeon. No ocular compression was used. Pre- and post-injection IOPs were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test, whereas all other results were compared with baseline using Student's two-tailed paired t-tests.
Results: All patients achieved good analgesia and akinesis. There was no significant difference between the IOP prior to and 1 min after injection. At all time intervals after 3 min there was a significant reduction in IOP compared with the pre-injection measurement. At 5 min, the mean IOP reduction was 2.72 mmHg and at 10 min IOP was lowered by 2.92 mmHg. Both reductions were statistically significant compared with baseline.
Conclusions: Sub-Tenon's anaesthesia does not cause any significant rise in IOP, thereby possibly making it the anaesthetic technique of choice when an increase in IOP is undesirable. There is no indication for the use of an ocular pressure-reducing device when sub-Tenon's anaesthesia is employed.