Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1970  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 128--130

Role of diamox (acetazolamide) in cataract surgery

DL Maria, MD Kale 
 Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College, Aurangabad, India

Correspondence Address:
D L Maria
Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College, Aurangabad

How to cite this article:
Maria D L, Kale M D. Role of diamox (acetazolamide) in cataract surgery.Indian J Ophthalmol 1970;18:128-130

How to cite this URL:
Maria D L, Kale M D. Role of diamox (acetazolamide) in cataract surgery. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1970 [cited 2021 Jun 16 ];18:128-130
Available from:

Full Text

Ocular hypotony forms an impor­tant part of preoperative manage­ment of cataract surgery to prevent vitreous loss. This percentage of vitreous loss is increased with advent of various new techniques of cataract extraction. Various hypotensive drugs are used preoperatively. According to Hill[3] in addition to sedatives and tranquilizers, retrobulbar injection of suitable anaesthetic agent followed by digital pressure over the globe for 5 minutes will cause sufficient hypotony of the globe. This hypotony can be achieved by osmotic agents such as urea, glycerol and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as acetazolamide, Agarwal [1] , Mody [4] , Kornblueth[6].

According to Agarwal[1] and Mody [4] administration of Diamox along with other preoperative medication with retrobulbar injection of anaesthetic helps to prevent vitreous loss.

Diamox as an ocular hypotensive drug is used since 1954 in ophthalmic practice. Diamox (Acetazolamide) the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor in oral doses of 500 to 1000 mg could produce a fall in intra ocular pressure within 60 to 90 minutes. Maximum fall reaches within 3 to 5 hours. Exact mechanism of action, by which it causes inhibition of carbonic anhy­drase is not known.

Shortly after the introduction of Diamox, as an ocular hypotensive agent, it was used to produce hypo­tony prior to cataract extraction to prevent vitreous loss, Agrawal and Malik [1] .

Ureets Zavalia Jr [5] claims that ad­ministration of Diamox 15 to 20 mg/ kg body wt/a day for 48 hours before surgery causes hypotony and induces vitreous detergescence. According to him it alters the colloidal state of vitre­ous by removing water, increasing viscosity and thus diminishing its volume.

Present study was instituted to determine whether the Diamox is of much value along with retrobulbar injection of xylocain 2% with adrena­line 1: 1000 in producing hypotony of the eye ball.

 Material and Method

135 cases of cataract were studied for this purpose. Most of the patients belonged to age group of 40 to 80 and were admitted for routine cataract extraction. There was no other ocular pathology. 65 cases were given Dia­mox along with preoperative medica­tion, while 70 cases were not given Diamox except for preoperative me­dication. The cases were taken at random. The study was on double blind trial basis.

Premedication was 1 gr of pheno­barb and mist. alba 1 oz at bed time In the morning, half an hour before operation 10 mg of sequil with 100 mg of pethidine I. M. was given. Dia­mox series received 500 mg Diamox previous night and 500 mg 2 to 3 hours before operation. All the cases were operated after retrobulbar injec­tion 1.5 ml of 2% xylocaine with 1: 1000 adrenaline with digital pres­sure for 5 minutes.

Tension was recorded with a Schiotz tonometer on previous night before Diamox therapy, before retro­bulbar injection and after retrobulbar injection.

Calculations of drop in tension be­fore retrobulbar and after retrobulbar injections were made in percentage, and a table was made according to the age groups, both of control and Diarnox series. Following points were observed : (1) percentage of fall of intraocular pressure before retrobul­bar injection. (2) percentage of total fall after retrobulbar injection. (3) Appearance of the anterior chamber after section. (4) Vitreous disturbance or vitreous loss after removal of lens.


The table below shows that there is no significant difference in a fall of intraocular pressure after retrobulbar injection in both the series. Average fall of tension in control group is 51.5% while in acetazolamidc series it is 59.4%.

Fall before retrobulbar injection is different in the two groups. In the control group it is 16.7% while in the Acetazolamide group it is 33.6%, showing that Diamox has got hypo­tensive action even in the presence of normal intra ocular pressure.

Average normal tension came to about 16.3 mm of Hg (Schiotz). Vitreous loss is seen in both the groups. In the control group it is 10.0% while in Diamox series it is 9.2%. There is no significant diffe­rence between the two. Vitreous disturbance was observed more in the control group.

In two cases of the control series and three cases of the Diamox series, the tension before retrobulbar injec­tion, was raised instead of coming down, which can be explained, on the basis that these cases might be of a glaucomatous nature.


As regards hypotony of the eye ball, Diamox has got no additive effect over the retrobulbar injection with digital compression alone for 5 minutes. Though vitreous loss was seen in both the cases, almost in equal percentage, the anterior vitreous bulge of the vitreous face was almost absent in Diamox series probably due to the detergescence of the vitreous.


65 cases using Diamox with retro­bulbar injection of xylocain 2% with adrenaline 1: 1000 and digital pres­sure for 5 minutes were compared with 70 cases with only retrobulbar injection and digital pressure for 5 minutes.

No significant difference in fall of tension was seen after retrobulbar in­jection between the two series of cases.

There was some difference in ten­sion between these two groups before retrobulbar injection, indicating that Diamox lowers normal intra-ocular pressure.

Vitreous disturbance and anterior vitreous bulge was seen less in Dia­mox series probably due to deterge­scent effect of Diamox.


1Agarwal, L. P. and Malik, S. R.: Diamox in cataract surgery. Amer. J. Ophth. 56, 933-7, Dec. 63.
2Gundizik, J. D. et al.: Use of Diamox and retrobulbar injection to prevent vitreous loss. Amer. J. Ophth. 56, 933-7, Dec. 63.
3Hill, H. F. et al.: Effects of retrobul­bar anaesthesia upon intra-ocular pres­sure. Preliminary report on its im­portance in cataract surgery. Arch Ophth. (Chicago) 70, 178-83, Aug. 63.
4Mody, D. G. et al.: Hypotony in cataract surgery. J. All India Ophth. Soc. 19, 26-30, Feb. 66.
5Ureet-Zavalia Jr.: Preoperative dehy­dration of vitreous body. Indications, techniques, critical analysis of the re­sults obtained. Amer. J. Ophth. 56, 933-7, Dec. 63.
6W. Korablueth, G. Gombos and B. Traub: Effects of osmotic agents em­ployed before cataract extraction, on the position of vitreous following re­moval of lens. Amer. J. Ophth. 62, 220-2, Aug. 66.