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Knowledge of visual experience during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia: a nationwide survey of UK ophthalmologists

Abstract

Aim: To evaluate the knowledge and practices of UK ophthalmologists regarding patients’ subjective visual experience during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia.

Methods: A nationwide postal survey was conducted on UK ophthalmologists using a standardised questionnaire.

Results: The proportion of surgeons who operated under regional anaesthesia who thought that patients could experience the following visual sensations were: no light perception (54%); light perception (95%); one or more colours (93%); flashes of light (81%); movement (87%); instruments (61%); surgeon’s hands or fingers (53%); surgeon (43%); and changes in light brightness (88%). Fifty-eight per cent of them thought that patients might be frightened by this, and 77% thought that preoperative counselling could help alleviate this fear. The proportion of surgeons who operated under topical anaesthesia who thought that patients could experience the following visual sensations were: no light perception (10%); light perception (94%); one or more colours (97%); flashes of light (86%); movement (96%); instruments (81%); surgeon’s hands or fingers (65%); surgeon (51%); changes in light brightness (95%). Fifty-nine per cent of them thought that patients might be frightened by this, and 80% thought that preoperative counselling could help alleviate this fear.

Conclusion: Most UK surgeons believed that during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia, patients might experience various visual sensations which could cause fear and that such fear could be alleviated by preoperative counselling.

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