Twelve thousand regional anaesthetics for cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation surgery were administered by one anaesthetist over a period of 52 months in a free-standing outpatient surgical facility. The ophthalmologist, who did all the operations, assessed the quality of the blocks using an objective scoring system which is described. The first 3,595 patients had retrobulbar and seventh nerve blocks. The following 1,640 patients had higher volume retrobulbar blocking alone. The next 3,478 had peribulbar blocks, followed by 2,226 who had a modified form of peribulbar blocking. A final group of 1,061 had a combination of peribulbar and periorbital blocks with added retrobulbar injection if indicated. As the method of blocking evolved, the more closely was the goal of safe, painless and effective regional anaesthesia approached. The requirements for effective anaesthesia of this type are presented, the complications described and the importance of familiarity with the anatomy of the orbit and its contents stressed.