Anaesthesia-related diplopia after cataract surgery

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BackgroundWe studied the incidence and clinical characteristics of persistent diplopia related to anaesthesia for cataract surgery in a general hospital.MethodsThis was a retrospective review of anaesthesia for 3587 cataract surgeries. Of all the cases of diplopia referred to the ocular motility clinic after cataract surgery, those involving anaesthesia-related diplopia lasting longer than 1 month were studied.ResultsDuring the study period, 3450 cataract surgeries were performed by phacoemulsification and 137 by extracapsular extraction. Retrobulbar block was used in 2024 cases, peribulbar block in 98, topical anaesthesia in 1420 and general anaesthesia in 43. Twenty-six cases of persistent diplopia were found (0.72% incidence), nine of which (0.25%) were considered to be related to anaesthetic factors; five of the latter involved the left eye. Five were caused by paresis of the inferior rectus muscle and three by fibrosis. In one patient, the inferior oblique muscle was affected. Anaesthesia was by retrobulbar block in eight cases (0.39%) and by peribulbar block in one. No diplopia was found in patients who had topical or general anaesthesia. Treatment was with surgery in two patients and with prisms in six. One patient continues to be studied.ConclusionsPersistent diplopia can occur after cataract surgery using retrobulbar block predominantly through direct damage to the inferior rectus muscle. The overall incidence of anaesthesia-related diplopia in this series was 0.25%.

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