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Anesthesiology. 1996 Nov;85(5):1020-7.

Eye injuries after nonocular surgery. A study of 60,965 anesthetics from 1988 to 1992.

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Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.



Eye injuries after anesthesia, although infrequent, may result in visual impairment. Previous studies have not defined the risk factors associated with these injuries. To study the cause of these injuries and to determine incidence data, the authors reviewed the records from a 4.5-y period of patients who sustained eye injuries after anesthesia and nonocular surgery.


The records were surveyed of 60,965 patients who underwent anesthesia for nonocular surgery at our institution from January 1988 to July 1992. Eye injuries were identified by examining several sources of information, including quality improvement data, postoperative visits or telephone calls, and examination of medical records of postoperative patients who required an ophthalmology consultation. Records were reviewed to determine the types and causes of eye injuries. Logistic regression, with univariate and multivariate analysis, was used to identify the importance of possible risk factors.


Of 34 patients who sustained eye injuries (0.056%), the most common was corneal abrasion (n = 21). Other injuries were conjunctivitis, blurred vision, red eye, chemical injury, direct trauma, and blindness. Independent factors associated with a higher relative risk of eye injury were long surgical procedures (odds ratio, 1.16 per hour of anesthetic care; CI, 1.1 to 1.3), lateral positioning during surgery (odds ratio, 4.7; CI, 2 to 11), operation on the head or neck (odds ratio, 4.4; CI, 2.2 to 9.0), general anesthesia (odds ratio, 3.0; CI, 2.2 to 38), and surgery on a Monday (odds ratio, 2.7; CI, 1.4 to 5.3). In only 21% of cases was a specific cause of injury identified.


For reasons not understood, eye injuries are more common in patients who are older or who undergo lengthier procedures. The cause of injury was usually not determined by the authors' methods. Until the mechanisms producing perioperative eye injuries are better understood, it is difficult to identify strategies to prevent this type of injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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