• AAO OTAC Anterior Segment Panel, Hoskins Center for Quality Eye Care
    Cataract/Anterior Segment


    A Report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Committee Anterior Segment Panel: Carol L. Karp, MD; Terry A. Cox, MD, PhD; Michael D. Wagoner, MD; Reginald G. Ariyasu, MD, PhD; Deborah S. Jacobs, MD

    Ophthalmology, September 2001, Vol. 108, 1704-1710 © 2001 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Click here for free access to the OTA.

    Reviewed for currency: 2013

    Objective: This document describes the technique of intracameral anesthesia and examines the available evidence to address questions about its effectiveness, possible corneal endothelial and retinal toxicity, and the optimal and maximal dose.

    Methods: A literature search conducted for the years 1968 to 2000 retrieved over 180 citations that matched the search criteria. Panel members and a methodologist reviewed this information, and it was evaluated for the quality of the evidence presented.

    Results: Some studies report effectivenss of intracameral anesthesia while others report no effect. In those studies showing an effect, levels of pain in the groups that were compared were low. Short-term studies seem to indicate that preservative (methylparaben)-free lidocaine 1% is well tolerated by the corneal endothelium but that higher concentrations of lidocaine are toxic. There is some evidence of electroretinogram changes after exposure to lidocaine or bupivacaine.

    Conclusions: The ideal timing and placement of intracameral anesthesia has not been determined. Because topical anesthesia alone is effective, surgeons may elect to use intracameral anesthesia for incremental pain control in patients who cannot be adequately managed with topical alone. Appropriate patient selection is important when using this method of anesthesia. While short-term studies seem to indicate safety, long-term effects are unknown. Patient preferences for anesthesia are not well stuided.