Purpose: Many patients experience a variety of visual sensations during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia. Up to 16.2% of patients are frightened by their intraoperative visual experience. This study aimed to determine the knowledge and beliefs of optometry students on this subject.
Methods: A nationwide survey using a standardised, self-administered questionnaire was conducted on all optometry students in Singapore.
Results: For cataract surgery under regional anaesthesia, 38.9% of the respondents believed that patients might experience no light perception while 68.5% felt that patients were likely to be able to perceive light. Overall, 70.4% felt that patients might be frightened by their visual experiences and 88.0% believed that preoperative counselling of patients would serve to reduce the fear experienced during the surgery. For cataract surgery under topical anaesthesia, 37.0% of the respondents believed that patients would perceive no light and 74.1% believed that patients would retain light perception. Overall, 67.6% believed that patients may be frightened and 86.1% felt that preoperative counselling would help.
Conclusion: Many optometry students correctly believed that patients might experience a variety of visual sensations during cataract surgery under local anaesthesia. The majority were also aware that patients might be frightened by this and felt that preoperative counselling would be helpful.