The operation

After the anaesthetic has been given the skin around the eye will be gently cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

Patients sometimes worry about seeing what is happening during eye operations under local anaesthetic. In fact, the local anaesthetic injection often switches off vision in the eye, and even if it doesn’t, or if you choose to have drops rather than an injection, the bright microscope light dazzles the eye. Even without these effects, everything that is done to the eye is so close that it is completely out of focus making it impossible to see anymore than shapes at the most.

Before I get underway doing your operation I will place a thin waterproof sheet over your eye. I use some salty water during the operation, the sheet is intended to keep to keep you (and me) dry and to keep the eye clean. Sometimes, despite the sheet, you may get some water running down the side of your face and occasionally onto your collar. It would be sensible to bear this in mind when deciding what to wear for the operation.

The operation (see next section for details) takes about fifteen minutes; it should be painless and not unpleasant. At the end the sheet will be removed, the eye will be cleaned again and you will be helped back to the lounge. After another 20–30 minutes I will examine your eye before you go home.

Some patients find it helps take their mind off things if I talk to them during the operation, some like to be told what is happening. Generally it is better if I do most of the talking (when patients talk it can make their eye move, and then I have to pause until it is steady again). You can let me know what you would prefer.

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