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Music Soothes Anxiety in Cataract Surgery

A United States study has found playing patient-selected music is an inexpensive, low risk, and effective way to decrease patient anxiety during cataract surgery.

The study, published in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 1 considered the impact of music on patient self-reported anxiety and the amount of sedative administered.

A total of 107 patients, who were unaware of the purpose of the study, were randomised to either music group or control group, which had no music played. On postoperative day one, patients were asked to complete a six-question survey assessing anxiety at baseline and during surgery.

Patients’ intraoperative and postoperative vitals were recorded, as well as the medications and sedatives given.

The study found no significant difference in baseline anxiety between the two groups. However, patients randomised to the music group had significantly lower total self-reported anxiety (mean 5.98) than the control group (mean 7.13, p=0.006).

Moreover, patients exposed to music felt significantly less frightened, nervous, and confused during surgery (p=0.002, 0.007, and 0.017, respectively). There was no significant difference between the groups in number and dosage of sedatives given.


  1. Rivera, P.A., Linderman, W. L. Diaz, V., et al., Music during cataract surgery: Impact on anxiety. Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, March 2024. DOI: 10.1097/j. jcrs.0000000000001444.