Nerve block

Eye surgery is usually performed as a day procedure under nerve block. The advantages of this are:

  • Safety: If you have many medical problems, or have side effects from general anaesthesia, having a block may be safer for you.
  • Better pain control: you will not need any strong pain medicine post-operatively.
  • Less side effects: you will have less risk of becoming itchy, nauseous, sleepy or having trouble going to the bathroom.
  • You will go home sooner.

The block is performed under light sedation in the anaesthetic bay immediately prior to your surgery. After administering your eye drop medication, I clean your eye with antiseptic, and gently inject local anaesthetic to the side of your eye. Most patient do not remember any discomfort associated with this injection. After 5-10 minutes, your eye and eyelid will be weak and numb, and you will not be able to see out of this eye. You will then be transferred into the operating theatre for your surgery.

We always test the block prior to commencing surgery to ensure your comfort and safety. If discomfort is felt, a 2nd injection may be given to supplement the initial nerve block.

On completion of your surgery, you will be transferred to recovery with a protective dressing over your eye. Your nerve block will last 4-8 hours. I will provide an instruction sheet with a tailored plan on how to manage your pain when the nerve block wears off.

Please see the patient information section on Peripheral nerve blocks for further information.


Being ‘awake’ during surgery

A common misconception regarding nerve blocks is that you have to be awake during surgery. This is not a good reason to refuse to have a nerve block. In addition to your block, I can provide you with sedation, which renders you sleepy and unaware of their surroundings during the surgery.

For eye surgery, you will be lying flat with a sterile drape covering your eye, and some of your face. I provide oxygen underneath this drape to ensure your comfort.

I will be with you throughout your surgery to address any concerns you may have.