Safety, efficacy, and patient acceptability of lidocaine hydrochloride ophthalmic gel as a topical ocular anesthetic for use in ophthalmic procedures

Michael A. Page, Frederick W. Fraunfelder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the current literature on safety, efficacy, and measures of surgeon and patient satisfaction with lidocaine hydrochloride gel as a tool for ocular anesthesia. Methods: Pubmed search using keywords "lidocaine gel," "ophthalmic," and "surgery" and compiling cross-references. Twenty-six total references were reviewed, including 15 prospective randomized controlled trials (RCTs, total N = 933, average N = 62), 6 nonrandomized prospective studies (total N = 234, average N = 39), 2 animal studies, 1 microbiologic study, and 2 letters to the editor. Results: The RCTs and nonrandomized prospective studies evaluated a number of measures including timing of onset of anesthesia, duration of anesthesia, intraoperative and postoperative pain, need for additional anesthetic applications, intracameral lidocaine levels, and adverse effects. Control groups received topical drops, subconjunctival anesthetic, retrobulbar anesthetic, or sham gel. Lidocaine gel was shown to be at least as effective for pain control as alternative therapies in all studies, with longer duration of action than topical drops. Patient and surgeon satisfaction were high, and adverse effects were rare and comparable to those for anesthetic drop formulations. Surgical settings included cataract, pterygium, trabeculectomy, strabismus, intravitreal injection, vitrectomy, and penetrating keratoplasty. Conclusions: Lidocaine gel is a safe, effective, and potentially underutilized tool for ophthalmic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-609
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



  • Anesthetic
  • Gel
  • Lidocaine
  • Ocular
  • Ophthalmic
  • Topical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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