EYE PAIN AFTER VITREORETINAL SURGERY: A Prospective Study of 185 Patients

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Abstract

Purpose

To assess subjective levels of eye pain, nausea, and sedation following vitreoretinal surgery performed with intravenous sedation and retrobulbar anesthesia.

Methods

One hundred eighty-five consecutive patients who underwent vitreoretinal surgery and had access to a standard postoperative analgesic regimen prospectively quantified levels of eye pain, nausea, and sedation 2 hours and 5 hours after surgery by using a standard visual analog scale. Analgesic requests were recorded. Responses were statistically analyzed.

Results

Fifty-six percent of patients had some eye pain after vitreoretinal surgery; 48% of patients requested an analgesic within 5 hours after surgery. Twenty-seven percent of patients required narcotic analgesia. There was a significant relationship between the presence of eye pain and surgery duration of >2 hours (P < 0.02). Sixteen percent of patients had postoperative nausea, which more likely occurred in those who received a narcotic analgesic (P < 0.02). Eighty percent of patients had postoperative sedation, which more likely occurred in those who received a narcotic analgesic (P < 0.02).

Conclusion

One half of individuals undergoing vitreoretinal surgery, especially those who have lengthy procedures (>2 hours), will request pain medication within 5 hours after surgery; one half of these patients will need narcotic analgesia for pain control. Narcotics may result in nausea and sedation.

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