Purpose: To report the potential for retinal ischemia caused by high intraocular pressure and to suggest a simple test for this condition.
Methods: We measured the intraocular pressure and directly examined the optic nerve head in four eyes of four patients at the conclusion of cataract surgery.
Results: With intraocular pressure above 40 mm Hg, elderly patients may abruptly lose the ability to perceive microscope illumination. The central retinal artery pulsated at these pressures. Light perception returned immediately upon reduction of intraocular pressure.
Conclusion: Testing for light perception at the conclusion of surgery can indicate retinal ischemia with loss of light perception, which may occur during sealing of the cataract surgical wound.