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Eye Exam Under Anesthesia

What is an Eye Exam Under Anesthesia?

An exam under anesthesia (EUA) is an examination of a patient while he or she is under anesthesia. In this case, the exam is performed on the eyes.

The doctor orders an EUA when a patient is unable to tolerate a complete eye exam within an outpatient clinic setting. This may be due to the patient's age, developmental level or level of cooperation. An EUA is performed in the operating room while the patient is under general anesthesia.

Before the Procedure

A few days before the procedure, a nurse from the same day surgery department will contact the parents of the patient. He or she will confirm what time the child should arrive at the hospital on the day of the procedure. They will also review when it is time to stop solid food and liquids and review your child’s medications with you.

The parents are asked to bring a complete list of all medications the child takes as well as a physical exam form that has been completed by the patient's primary care physician within 30 days prior to the procedure.

If the child has prescription eye drops or ointment, he/she will most likely use these medicines the night before the surgery and the morning of the surgery, especially if they are used to treat glaucoma. However, parents should verify this with the eye clinic staff prior to the day of surgery.

On the day of the procedure the patient should dress in comfortable clothing. No jewelry or fingernail polish should be worn.

A doctor or nurse practitioner from the Anesthesia Department will talk to the parents about the anesthesia on the day of surgery. They will be available to answer any questions the parents may have.

The patient may receive eye drops in one or both eyes to dilate them. This may occur before or after going to the operating room.

During the Procedure

The procedure will take place in the operating room.

The patient will be asleep for the entire procedure and will not feel pain or any sensations. He or she will be monitored by nurses and doctors throughout the entire procedure.

The examination may consist of an intraocular eye pressure measurement (pressure inside the eye), a complete eye examination, including a refraction (to check for any type of refractive error or need for glasses) and an examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye. The procedure takes between 10 and 40 minutes.

After the Procedure

The doctor will speak to the parents as soon as he/she has completed the procedure. At this time, the doctor will provide any instructions.

The patient will be taken to the recovery room where a nurse will monitor vital signs and make sure the patient is comfortable.

After the child wakes, the nurse will notify the parents and they will be able to see the child in the recovery room. The patient will be offered fluids.

The patient should not have any pain although some children and infants may be fussy, tired or disoriented. He or she may experience some nausea or vomiting from the anesthesia.

Diet and Activity

The patient should start with a clear liquid diet, which may include sugar water, Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, apple juice, soft drinks or breast milk. The child may move on to solids as soon as he/she can tolerate them.

There are generally no activity restrictions after an EUA. The patient may be tired and unsteady due to the anesthesia so adult supervision is recommended for a few hours after the procedure.

Contact Us

You may call the clinic during office hours at 513-636-4751, option 3, if you have any questions or concerns. For questions after hours, call 513-636-4200 and ask for the ophthalmology resident on call.

Last Updated 11/2022

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The ophthalmology program at Cincinnati Children's is one of the largest centers in the nation for the care of children’s eyes, treating everything from common to very rare conditions.

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