Effect of intracameral anesthesia on the corneal endothelium

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1998 Oct;24(10):1377-81. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(98)80232-0.


Purpose: To evaluate the effects of intracameral anesthesia on the corneal endothelium.

Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama, Japan.

Methods: This study comprised 24 eyes of 12 white rabbits. One eye of 3 rabbits each was injected with preservative-free lidocaine at concentrations of 0.02, 0.2, or 2% and the fellow eye injected with balanced salt solution (BSS) as a control. The anesthetic agent was injected into the anterior chamber using a bimanual technique. Immediately after enucleation, the cornea was examined by scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Scanning electron microscopy revealed no abnormal findings in the eyes injected with lidocaine 0.02 or 0.2% when compared with eyes in the control group. Scanning electron microscopy of the eyes injected with lidocaine 2% showed irregular hexagonal endothelial cells and a significant loss of microvilli.

Conclusion: Intracameral anesthesia with high concentrations of lidocaine risks corneal endothelial damage but at the low concentration usually used in cataract surgery did not appear to have an adverse effect.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Local / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Anterior Chamber / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / ultrastructure
  • Lidocaine / toxicity*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Lidocaine