Lidocaine (Ophthalmic)

The ophthalmic route of Lidocaine works by numbing the nerves in the eye.

Overview

Sold as Akten, this medication is used by doctors and nurses to produce numbness before medical procedures. As a local anesthetic, it works by temporarily blocking the nerve endings to produce a numb feeling. This form of Lidocaine uses the ophthalmic route, which goes through the eye. If you need to have surgery on your eyes, this drug will likely be used. This drug will most likely be given by a doctor or nurse themselves, and you probably won't have to take this medication home.

Your doctor may administer this drug before a procedure on your eyes. If you have a condition that requires eye surgery, they might choose Lidocaine as their primary local anesthetic. It has a high rate of success, and many people react well to this drug. If you have an existing allergy to this drug or drugs of this time, be sure to tell them before the procedure. They should be able to find a proper alternative. Allergies to this drug are not common either, but if you experience any allergy symptoms (eye redness, itching and burning of the eye), talk to your doctor right away. Your eyes are very delicate, and you should flush them out with cool water if you think an ophthalmic medication isn't working correctly.

This medication is fairly safe, and the effects usually wear off in an hour or two. You should take care to not damage your own eyes while using this drug. Do not rub your eyes or test the numbness in any way. Always take out your contact lenses before using this drug. If you are working with a doctor or optometrist, they may ask that you wear glasses to the appointment instead. Side effects to this drug are usually mild, but any serious side effects should be immediately presented to your doctor.

This medication is only available with your doctor's prescription, and you should never try and use this drug without their guidance or supervision. Always use anesthetics with caution, and take care not to hurt yourself while you are numb. If you are nervous about using this drug, bring a friend or family member to the doctor/optometrist's office with you.

Conditions Treated

  • Produces numbness

Type Of Medication

  • Local anesthetic

Side Effects

Lidocaine may have side effects during use. Aside from producing numbness, you may experience a number of other symptoms while using this medication. Some may not require your doctor's attention, and may be completely normal. However, if you experience anything troubling, painful, or unusual during your treatment, be sure to tell your doctor right away. Because of the nature of this drug, even if you do not feel something now, it may become an issue once the drug wears off. Be sure to monitor yourself for any side effects even after the medication's run has finished.

Common, harmless side effects include:

Some side effects may require your doctor's attention. If any of the listed side effects occur, try to notify your doctor or a nearby nurse.

  • Itching or burning of the eye
  • Redness/signs of irritation on the eye
  • Blurred or double vision

Most times, this drug is given directly by a doctor or nurse, and you will not go home until the procedure is finished. However, if you go home and experience pain/unusual side effects afterwards, make a call to your doctor and ask for another appointment.

Dosage

Your doctor will determine how much of this drug you will need. Dosage can vary from patient to patient, depending on your tolerance to this drug. You may require more or less as the procedure continues, so do not be alarmed if your doctor applies more of this drug to your eyes. Lidocaine only works for 10-30 minutes, so you may need a re-dose before the surgery or procedure is finished. This is just to maintain numbness, and overdose of this drug is highly unlikely.

The regular dose for Lidocaine is two drops, applied directly into the eye. It will coat the eyeball and prevent the nerve endings from sending back signals to the brain, which produces numbness. You will not feel pain, tickling, or stimulation to the eye during this time. If you experience anything unusual, or think you might need another dose of the drug, notify your doctor. The procedure or surgery should not begin until you are properly medicated.

You should not have to take this drug home with you, but if take-home medication is necessary, your doctor will show you how to properly use this drug. Make sure to follow all of their instructions to avoid accidental damage to your eye(s).

Interactions

This drug may interact with other medication your are taking. While some interactions are mild and may not affect your treatment, you should avoid them if possible. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, and try to keep a list of all your medications on-hand. Present this to your doctor, and they should be able to tell you which medications might interact with Lidocaine. Because Lidocaine is a local anesthetic, it may not interact with many medications, but you should always inform your doctor of what drugs you are taking. This includes over the counter and herbal medications.

Lidocaine interacts with Amiodarone, a medication used to treat irregular heartbeats. If you are currently taking this medication, your doctor might ask you to pause your treatment or switch to another drug before your procedure. After the Lidocaine has worn off, you should be able to re-start your prescription. While unpleasant, this may be necessary to avoid harmful interactions. This list is not exhaustive, so be sure to go over your prescription list before the procedure to avoid any other interactions. While the internet can be a useful resource, always confer with your doctor.

Warnings

Before you are given Lidocaine, your doctor may tell you about the drug and its risks. They may give you verbal instructions or reading material about the medication to help you understand what you're taking and how it might affect you. Make sure you understand all of it before continuing with the procedure. Be sure to ask questions about anything you don't understand. The information is there for your benefit, so talk to your doctor to make sure you have everything you need.

Lidocaine will fully numb your eye, making it hard for you to feel anything in that area. This includes pain. Do not rub or scratch at your eyes while using this drug. You may accidentally harm yourself without knowing it. This drug usually wears off after fifteen minutes, so refrain from touching your eyes until you have sensation again. If you experience any itching or burning while using this drug, do not touch your eyes. Inform your doctor instead, and make sure to notify them if anything else occurs.

If you need to take this drug home at any point, make sure to go over the warnings again. Talk to your doctor if you need any additional information.

Storage

Because this drug will be handled by trained medical staff, you do not need to know the storage requirements for this drug. The nurses and doctors on staff know how to store this medication. If you need to take this drug home at any point, they will give you the manufacturer's information on how to store it. Be sure to follow all of their instructions, and store this drug safely away from any children or pets. Only use this drug as directed.

Summary

Lidocaine is a popular numbing agent, or local anesthetic, that does not produce unconsciousness or full-body numbness. It can be used topically, orally, or in this case: ophthalmically. This drug usually comes in eye-drop form for easy application, but gels are available as well. Only two drops are necessary to achieve numbness, but more may be applied to maintain this effect over time. Your doctor may use this drug before an eye surgery. If you have anxiety, you should bring a friend or mention this to your doctor. They might be able to give you a mild sedative to keep you calm during the procedure.

In most cases, this drug will only be used under the immediate supervision of your doctor. However, if you need to take this medication home, they should give you all the necessary information when you pick up your prescription. Be sure to read everything they give you, and talk to your doctor if you have questions about the drug.

To avoid accidental damage to your eyes, always take out contacts before using this drug, and do not rub at your eyes while they are numb. You cannot feel if you are hurting yourself, so you may accidentally scratch the surface of your eye. If you experience any troubling side effects while using this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.