A role for music in cataract surgery: a systematic review

Int Ophthalmol. 2021 Dec;41(12):4209-4215. doi: 10.1007/s10792-021-01986-9. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


Purpose: There have been several studies that explore the anxiolytic effects of music during cataract surgery. This is the first systematic review of literature highlighting the effects of music on patients undergoing cataract surgery without pharmacological anxiolytics.

Methods: A systematic review of literature using PRISMA methodology identified randomized controlled trials involving patients undergoing cataract surgery with music as an intervention during the procedure with outcomes measured using at least one assessment of anxiety level, pain score, satisfaction, or vital sign measurements. Studies using pharmacological anxiolytics or additional pain-relieving medications besides local anesthetic were excluded.

Results: Three studies, involving 523 patients, were included with patients undergoing cataract surgery with music intervention. Music intervention during cataract surgery has demonstrated use in reducing perceived pain, reducing anxiety, and improving vitals with increased benefit of reduced heart rate and blood pressures with binaural beat embedded music.

Conclusions: The clinical implications of this review identify non-traditional approaches to reducing anxiety intraoperatively for cataract surgeries, offering clinicians alternatives to minimizing benzodiazepine and medication use risks.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cataract surgery; Intraoperative; Music.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Cataract*
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*
  • Music*