Eye Health

Updated 07 March 2018

Music reduces patients' anxiety before cataract surgery

A study found that eye surgery patients who listened to relaxing tunes before their procedure needed less sedation during the operation.

Listening to relaxing music before eye surgery reduces patients' anxiety and their need for sedation, a new French study suggests.

Lower anxiety scores

"Music listening may be considered as an inexpensive, non-invasive, non-pharmacological method to reduce anxiety for patients undergoing elective eye surgery under local anaesthesia," said lead researcher Dr Gilles Guerrier, from Cochin University Hospital in Paris.

The study included 62 people who had outpatient cataract surgery while awake and under local anaesthesia. The surgery lasted an average of 15 minutes.

Read: Eye drops could cure cataracts and long-sightedness

Some patients listened to relaxing music through headphones for about 15 minutes before their surgery, while others did not. Those who listened to music could choose from 16 styles, such as jazz, flamenco, Cuban, classical and piano.

Compared with those who did not listen to music, patients in the music group had much lower anxiety scores, received significantly less sedatives during surgery, and were much more satisfied after surgery.

Read: Scientists use stem cells to correct infants' cataracts

The study was presented at the Euroanaesthesia meeting in London. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"The objective is to provide music to all patients before eye surgery," Guerrier said in a meeting news release. "We intend to assess the procedure in other type of surgeries, including orthopaedics where regional anaesthesia is common. Moreover, postoperative pain may be reduced by decreasing preoperative anxiety, which is another study we intend to perform."

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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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