Comparison of 3 different anesthetic approaches for intravitreal injections: a prospective randomized trial

Comparação de três abordagens anestésicas diferentes para injeções intravítreas: um estudo prospectivo e randomizado

Gabriel Costa de Andrade André Correa Maia de Carvalho About the authors

Purpose:

To compare the anesthetic effectiveness of topical proparacaine drops, subconjunctival lidocaine, and 2% lidocaine gel.

Methods:

Ninety-two patients undergoing intravitreal injections were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: proparacaine 0.5% drops (Group Drops), proparacaine 0.5% drops plus subconjunctival lidocaine (Group SC), or 2% lidocaine gel (Group Gel). Patients were asked to score their pain experience using a visual analog scale of 0 to 10 immediately following the injections and 10 min, 1 h, 6 h, and 24 h after the injections. Patients also graded the overall injection experience as Excellent, Very Good, Fair, Poor, or Awful. The physician evaluated the patients’ eye movement during intravitreal injection on 3 levels: (0) none or minimal, (1) not compromising the injection, and (2) compromising the injection.

Results:

The patients in Group Drops had the worst mean pain scores during the injection and 10 min after, with the highest occurrence of movements compromising the procedure (Grade 2; 38.7%). The patients in Group SC had a higher percentage of good experiences (37.9%) but a higher incidence of chemosis (16.7%). The patients in Group Gel had similar overall pain scores to Group Drops patients but a higher incidence of keratitis (19.4%). There was no statistically significant correlation between the use of aspirin or anticoagulants and the occurrence of hyperemia or hyposphagma.

Conclusion:

Subconjunctival lidocaine was most effective in preventing pain and eye movements during intravitreal injections. Although 2% lidocaine gel produced a good overall experience for the patients, the incidence of keratitis was very high (19.4%). Therefore, we do not recommend 2% lidocaine gel as the first anesthetic choice for intravitreal injections. There is no evidence to suspend the use of aspirin or other anticoagulants drugs prior to intravitreal injections.

Efficacy; Anesthesia; Propoxycaine/administration & dosage; Lidocaine/ administration & dosage; Intravitreal injections; Conjunctiva/drug effects


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