26 doctors weighed in:
Do I have to be asleep for my cataract surgery?
26 doctors weighed in

Dr. Paul Holmwood
Ophthalmology
14 doctors agree
In brief: Almost never
Modern cataract surgery involves numbing the eye with drops and mild IV sedation.
The only need for general anesthesia is for severe uncooperation or movement disorders.

In brief: Almost never
Modern cataract surgery involves numbing the eye with drops and mild IV sedation.
The only need for general anesthesia is for severe uncooperation or movement disorders.
Dr. Paul Holmwood
Dr. Paul Holmwood
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Dr. Edward Meier
Ophthalmology
5 doctors agree
In brief: No
Most patients get numbing drops for the eye being operated on and IV sedation to make them sedated.
It is a "twilight" anesthesia similar to what a person gets for a colonoscopy. We want you to be able to follow directions if need be. General anesthesia with a breathing tube is only used for patients that can't lie still or patients that can't cooperate and follow directions.

In brief: No
Most patients get numbing drops for the eye being operated on and IV sedation to make them sedated.
It is a "twilight" anesthesia similar to what a person gets for a colonoscopy. We want you to be able to follow directions if need be. General anesthesia with a breathing tube is only used for patients that can't lie still or patients that can't cooperate and follow directions.
Dr. Edward Meier
Dr. Edward Meier
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Dr. David Sachs
Ophthalmology
4 doctors agree
In brief: Usually not
Most surgeons actually prefer their pts to be awake during cataract surgery.
Usually you given some light sedation to help you relax as well as medicine so that you don't feel anything.

In brief: Usually not
Most surgeons actually prefer their pts to be awake during cataract surgery.
Usually you given some light sedation to help you relax as well as medicine so that you don't feel anything.
Dr. David Sachs
Dr. David Sachs
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1 comment
Dr. William Goldstein
A cooperative patient who stays awake spends less time in the postop recovery area too!
Dr. William Goldstein
Ophthalmology
3 doctors agree
In brief: No, almost never
Unless a patient has severe anxiety or tremors, they don't have to be asleep.
Most people can hold still for the less-than 10 minutes that it takes if their surgeon can talk them through it well. The only other patients who need to sleep for surgery only need to sleep during the injected anesthetic....Which most of us are moving away from. We use eye drops and gels to control pain.

In brief: No, almost never
Unless a patient has severe anxiety or tremors, they don't have to be asleep.
Most people can hold still for the less-than 10 minutes that it takes if their surgeon can talk them through it well. The only other patients who need to sleep for surgery only need to sleep during the injected anesthetic....Which most of us are moving away from. We use eye drops and gels to control pain.
Dr. William Goldstein
Dr. William Goldstein
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1 comment
Dr. Sahba Ferdowsi
Great answer. Wishing you the best.
Dr. Jay Bradley
Ophthalmology - LASIK Surgery
2 doctors agree
In brief: No
You will likely only receive a little sedation and will be in a dreamy state.

In brief: No
You will likely only receive a little sedation and will be in a dreamy state.
Dr. Jay Bradley
Dr. Jay Bradley
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Dr. Christopher Hood
Ophthalmology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Almost always no
Most cataract surgery is done under topical anesthesia with a mild IV sedative given to "take the edge off.
" if too much IV anesthesia is given and you fall asleep completely, it is unsafe during surgery because you can wake up suddenly and startle.

In brief: Almost always no
Most cataract surgery is done under topical anesthesia with a mild IV sedative given to "take the edge off.
" if too much IV anesthesia is given and you fall asleep completely, it is unsafe during surgery because you can wake up suddenly and startle.
Dr. Christopher Hood
Dr. Christopher Hood
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Dr. Robert Chang
Ophthalmology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
Cataract surgery is mostly done with the patient awake, unless there is issues with young age, severe tremors, mental confusion, anxiety/language barrier, etc.

In brief: No
Cataract surgery is mostly done with the patient awake, unless there is issues with young age, severe tremors, mental confusion, anxiety/language barrier, etc.
Dr. Robert Chang
Dr. Robert Chang
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Dr. Michael Ham
Ophthalmology
In brief: Most likely not!
Today's procedures can be performed with no sedation or light IV sedation and local topical drops with intraocular lidocaine.
Rarely would one need to be put to sleep. Uncooperative patients may be put to sleep. Some doctors still put patients asleep for one to two minutes to give and injection around/behind the eye. This is becoming less common all the time.

In brief: Most likely not!
Today's procedures can be performed with no sedation or light IV sedation and local topical drops with intraocular lidocaine.
Rarely would one need to be put to sleep. Uncooperative patients may be put to sleep. Some doctors still put patients asleep for one to two minutes to give and injection around/behind the eye. This is becoming less common all the time.
Dr. Michael Ham
Dr. Michael Ham
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Dr. John Jarstad
Ophthalmology
In brief: No
Only if you prefer.

In brief: No
Only if you prefer.
Dr. John Jarstad
Dr. John Jarstad
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