Br J Ophthalmol 85:1445-1446 doi:10.1136/bjo.85.12.1445
  • Scientific correspondence

Quantification of relative afferent pupillary defects induced by posterior sub-Tenon's, peribulbar, and retrobulbar anaesthetics

  1. Andrew S Ramsay,
  2. Neeta Ray-Chaudhuri,
  3. Margaret Dayan,
  4. David Walshaw
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
  1. Mr Andrew Ramsay, West Suffolk Hospital, Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 2QZ, UK andrew.ramsay{at}
  • Accepted 6 June 2001


AIMS The effect of local anaesthetics on optic nerve function can be investigated by quantifying the relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD).

METHODS The study compared the depth of induced RAPD following posterior sub-Tenon's, retrobulbar, and peribulbar local anaesthetics using crossed polarising filters before cataract surgery (time 1 = 5 minutes), immediately after surgery (time 2 = 42 minutes (av)), and once again on the ward (time 3 = 107 minutes (av)).

RESULTS All patients developed a RAPD. There was no significant difference in the depth of RAPD between the groups at any one time period. The peribulbar group had a significantly steeper decay in RAPD from time 1 to time 2 (p = 0.014). This effect was reduced when the shorter operation time for this group was entered as a cofactor (p = 0.063). By time 3 the RAPDs for all groups had decayed similarly so that no differences could be detected.

CONCLUSION All three anaesthetic methods caused a similar level of disruption to optic nerve conduction immediately following administration and at the time of day case discharge.