A comparison of patient comfort during cataract surgery with topical anesthesia versus topical anesthesia and intracameral lidocaine

Ophthalmology. 1999 Jan;106(1):60-6. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(99)90007-6.


Objective: To determine whether intraocular lidocaine increases patient comfort during cataract surgery while under topical anesthesia.

Design: Prospective, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Participants: Both men and women between 45 and 85 years of age who were scheduled for elective cataract surgery while under topical anesthesia participated. Sixty-eight patients were randomized to each group.

Intervention: Patients were randomized to receive either topical anesthesia plus intracameral 1% preservative-free lidocaine or intracameral balanced salt solution.

Main outcome measures: Patient assessment of pain during delivery of the anesthesia, surgery, and after surgery using a visual analog pain scale was measured. Patients also recorded the degree to which they were bothered by tissue manipulation and the microscope light. Surgeon assessments of operative conditions, patient cooperation, and intraoperative complications were recorded. The attending anesthesiologist recorded any required supplemental intravenous sedation and any increase in pulse or increase in blood pressure.

Results: There was no significant difference in patient-reported pain scores for delivery of anesthesia (P = 0.902), surgery (P = 0.170), or after surgery (P = 0.680). Patients in the lidocaine group reported being less bothered by tissue manipulation (P = 0.021). The surgeon assessment showed more patient cooperation in the lidocaine group (P = 0.043).

Conclusions: Both topical anesthesia alone and topical anesthesia plus intracameral lidocaine provide good operative conditions for the surgeon and comfortable surgical circumstances for the patient. Injection of intraocular lidocaine increases patient cooperation and decreases the degree to which patients are bothered by tissue manipulation, two outcomes that justify its use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, Local / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Anterior Chamber / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Phacoemulsification*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rabbits
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Lidocaine