• Vol. 35 No. 2, 72–76
  • 15 February 2006

A Nationwide Survey on the Knowledge and Attitudes of Malaysian Optometry Students on Patients’ Visual Experiences During Cataract Surgery

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: During cataract surgery under regional (retrobulbar, peribulbar or sub-Tenon’s) or topical anaesthesia, many patients experience a variety of visual sensations in their operated eye intraoperatively. Between 3% and 16.2% of patients are frightened by their intraoperative visual experiences, which may increase the risk of intraoperative complications and affect patients’ satisfaction with the surgery. This study aims to determine optometry students’ beliefs and knowledge of visual sensations experienced by patients during cataract surgery under regional and topical anaesthesia.

Materials and Methods: A nationwide survey of all Malaysian optometry students using a standardised, self-administered questionnaire.

Results: All 129 optometry students participated in the survey, giving a 100% response rate. Overall, 26.4% and 29.5% of the students believed that patients undergoing cataract surgery under regional and topical anaesthesia, respectively, may experience no light perception, while 78.3% and 72.9%, respectively, thought that patients would experience light perception. Many respondents also believed that patients might experience a variety of other visual sensations. Of all respondents, 70.5% and 74.4% of students believed that patients undergoing cataract surgery under regional and topical anaesthesia, respectively, may be frightened by their visual experience and 93.0% and 85.3%, respectively, felt that preoperative counselling might help to alleviate this fear.

Conclusion: Many optometry students are aware that patients might encounter a variety of visual sensations during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia. A high proportion of students believe that patients may experience fear as a result of the intraoperative visual sensations and felt that preoperative counselling would be helpful.


Cataract is one of the most common causes of visual impairment in the elderly and its surgery is the most common major ophthalmic surgery, with over 8 million performed globally every year. The majority of cataract surgeries are performed under regional (retrobulbar, peribulbar or sub-Tenon’s) or topical anaesthesia.

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