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Anesthesia for emergent eye surgery

Alvaro A Macias, MD
Joseph Bayes, MD
Kathryn E McGoldrick, MD, FCAI(Hon)
Section Editor
Girish P Joshi, MB, BS, MD, FFARCSI
Deputy Editor
Nancy A Nussmeier, MD, FAHA


Anesthetic management of patients presenting for urgent or emergent surgery after penetrating eye injury is challenging primarily because of the risk of extrusion of ocular contents if intraocular pressure becomes elevated. Additional concerns include risk of pulmonary aspiration in patients with a full stomach, and the possibility of associated traumatic injuries (eg, orbital or cranial trauma).

A foreign body in the eye is the most common type of eye trauma, accounting for 35 percent of all eye injuries. Open wounds and contusions each account for about 25 percent of injuries, and the remainder are burns. Nearly 35 percent of eye injuries occur in patients ≤17 years old. Although eye injury is not a significant cause of total blindness, it is the most common cause of monocular blindness.

The anesthetic management of patients undergoing elective eye surgery is discussed separately. (See "Anesthesia for elective eye surgery".)

Emergency and surgical management of specific eye injuries, including open globe injury, conjunctival injury, traumatic hyphema, and retinal detachment, are discussed in other topics:

(See "Open globe injuries: Emergency evaluation and initial management".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 09, 2017.
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