Cataract surgery is usually done with topical (eye drop) local anesthesia. Patching is typically not necessary with eye drop anesthesia.
In the preoperative area, the nursing staff will prepare your eye for surgery with a combination of dilating, antiseptic, and anesthetic eye drops. You will usually be offered a Valium pill to take by mouth to reduce your anxiety in the pre-op area. The nursing staff will start an I.V.
After meeting with you in the pre-op area, your anesthesiologist will monitor you (e.g. blood pressure, pulse, oxygen level) in the operating room during surgery. He or she will usually give you additional medication through your IV to reduce and control your anxiety during the operation. Our goal is for you to be relaxed, but awake. Depending on your level of anxiety you may opt for no sedation or light I.V. sedation. We don’t want you to fall asleep so that you will be cooperative and able to follow verbal instructions during surgery.
Commonly used medications for I.V. sedation are:
- VERSED – a fast-acting, relaxing medication that may cause some sleepiness and amnesia after the surgery, and
- FENTANYL – a pain medication; this rarely causes nausea
Both of these agents are well tolerated and wear off quickly, enabling you to resume your normal diet and activities as soon as possible. Versed may make you forget many things that happened during your time at the surgery center. For this reason if and when you have your second eye operated on, you may wonder aloud why you don’t remember so many things from “the last time”! This is also why you have been given written and verbal instructions.
If you have any questions, please ask your anesthesiologist when you meet in the preoperative area.
Peninsula Eye Surgery Center