Is fasting required before cataract surgery? A retrospective review

Can J Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec;44(6):655-6. doi: 10.3129/i09-156.


Objective: To investigate the possibility that fasting is not required before cataract surgery.

Study design: Retrospective review.

Participants: All patients who had cataract surgery alone (not combined with corneal or glaucoma surgery) at Mount St. Joseph Hospital between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008.

Methods: Three methods were used to determine whether any cases of aspiration pneumonia after cataract surgery had occurred: recall by the supervising anaesthetist, a search of hospital medical records for admissions with a diagnosis of pneumonia, and recall by the operating surgeons.

Results: In 5125 cases of cataract surgery, no case of aspiration pneumonia was found.

Conclusions: This study suggests that it is safe to perform cataract surgery under topical or infiltration anaesthesia with intravenous sedation without fasting prior to surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Local / methods
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Fasting*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Phacoemulsification*
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives