Effect of interscalene block on intraocular pressure and ocular perfusion pressure

BMC Anesthesiol. 2017 Oct 23;17(1):144. doi: 10.1186/s12871-017-0436-x.


Background: Interscalene block (ISB) is commonly associated with Horner's syndrome due to spread of local anesthetic to the cervical sympathetic chain. Postganglionic neurons that originate from superior cervical ganglia form the sympathetic innervation of eye. Decrease in sympathetic tone may change intraocular pressure (IOP) and ocular perfusion pressure (OPP). The aim of the study was to investigate whether ISB affects IOP and/or OPP.

Methods: Thirty patients scheduled for ambulatory shoulder surgery under regional anesthesia with a single-shot ISB (15 mL 0.5% bupivacaine and 15 mL 2% lidocaine) were recruited. The IOP and OPP in both eyes, mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) and end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) were measured before ISB and 5, 10, 20, 30 and 60 min after ISB in the beach-chair position.

Results: The baseline IOP and OPP were similar in the blocked and unblocked sides (IOP 17.60 ± 1.69 and 17.40 ± 1.96 respectively p = 0.432; OPP 49.80 ± 8.20 and 50 ± 8.07 respectively p = 0.432). The IOP in the blocked side significantly decreased between 10th to 60th min following ISB, compared to the baseline values (p < 0.001). The OPP in the blocked side significantly increased from 10th to 60th min (p < 0.001) whereas, there were no significant changes in IOP and OPP throughout the measurement period in the unblocked side.

Conclusions: ISB decreased IOP in the blocked side. ISB could be considered as a safe regional technique of choice in elderly patients at high risk for developing glaucoma.

Keywords: Interscalene block; Intraocular pressure; Ocular perfusion pressure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Anesthetics, Local / adverse effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Brachial Plexus Block / adverse effects
  • Brachial Plexus Block / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects*
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anesthetics, Local