Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of perilimbal topical anesthesia for clear corneal cataract surgery. Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Udine, Udine, Italy. Methods: Seventy-five consecutive patients were studied for perioperative pain, visual outcome, and intraoperative complications. Topical anesthesia was administered with a cellulose sponge soaked in preservative-free lidocaine 2%. The perilimbal area was touched 360 degrees for 30 seconds with the sponge tip under the operating microscope just before surgery. No sedation or adjunctive anesthetic drops were given. Surgery was performed through a temporal corneal tunnel with the easy-chop technique Pan was scored on a subjective scale from 0 (no pain) to 3 (severe pain). Visual acuity was measured 1 day and 1 week after surgery. Mean operating time was recorded. Results: Sixty-nine patients (92%) tolerated the procedure well, giving a pain score of 0 or 1. Six (8%) of the 40 patients who had a single stitch at the end of surgery scored 2. No patient reported pain during iris touch, intraocular lens implantation, or conjunctiva manipulation. No intraoperative complications were recorded. Mean operating time was 12.7 minutes ± 3.7 (SD) (range 7 to 34 minutes). Mean preoperative visual acuity was 0.4 ± 0.2 (range 0.01 to 0.80). Visual acuity of 0.5 or better was attained in 93.6% of eyes 1 day and in 96% 1 week postoperatively. Conclusion: Perilimbal topical anesthesia was an effective and easy-to-administer anesthetic procedure for phacoemulsification, providing good perioperative pain tolerance by patients and rapid visual recovery. (C) 2000 ASCRS and ESCRS.
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