Contemporary Anesthesia Perspectives for Ophthalmic Surgery: A Brief Review

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Howard D Palte Neil H Masters


In recent decades there have been few changes in the anesthesia management of eye surgery. By contrast, the 21st Century has witnessed major advancements in ophthalmic surgery with the adoption of minimally-invasive techniques, technologic innovations, and an expanding population seeking eye care. These  factors have impacted intraoperative exposure such that many procedures are now performed on more complex patients, and completed in quicker time. Furthermore, in pursuit of economic savings and patient satisfaction there is a trend to divert eye surgeries away from the in-hospital setting to ambulatory centers or office locations. From an anesthesia perspective, these changes have imposed a demand on providers to shorten operating room turnover times and accelerate patient discharge while maintaining high standards of patient safety. This review will address five new avenues of anesthesia care, each of which offer possibilities in accommodating facets of this new order surgical experience.  First, remimazolam is an ultra-short acting benzodiazepine that produces a predictable period of hypnosis and rapid, full recovery of consciousness because of its short context-sensitive half-time and inactive metabolites. A single 3-5 mg dose produces 11-15 minutes sleep that may be ideal for brief ocular interventions. Second, nasal CPAP/BiPAP and high flow nasal oxygen devices expand the profile of patients appropriately managed at an ambulatory center. Since their application improves arterial oxygenation and delays the onset of apneic hypoxemia, they are advantageous for patients afflicted by morbid obesity or severe obstructive sleep apnea. Third, open globe injuries have traditionally been managed under general anesthesia. However, recent studies attest to regional anesthesia as a viable alternative for many ocular insults, particularly for the elderly and patients with major organ dysfunction or risk for pulmonary aspiration. Fourth, the sub-Tenon block is a cannula-based regional ophthalmic skill performed predeominantly by ophthalmic surgeons because it necessitates conjunctival incision and dissection. Recently described variations of an incision-free, easily mastered sub-Tenon approach are likely to be included in residency and fellowship instruction, and so become an invaluable component of the anesthesiology armamentarium. This review concludes with a concise overview of the a2 agonist dexmedetomidine with the focus directed on its uses as an adjunct for adult sedation, and advantage in children for premedication and control of emergence delirium.

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PALTE, Howard D; MASTERS, Neil H. Contemporary Anesthesia Perspectives for Ophthalmic Surgery: A Brief Review. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 8, aug. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 oct. 2023. doi:
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