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Age related cataracts are one of the major causes of loss of vision worldwide. Approximately 20 million people in the United States have their vision obstructed by cataracts and 500,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. The treatment for cataract is surgical extraction. The surgery is more than 95% successful in significantly improving vision. Because of continual advancements in cataract surgery, it is almost exclusively performed as an outpatient procedure and involves the administration of local anesthesia. For the most part patients are fully conscious during the procedure and it is imperative that they remain still. In the elderly, fear of loss of vision related to cataract surgery is second only to the fear of death. Although studies have shown that the average cataract patient is not unduly anxious regarding cataract surgery, anxiety is a known entity. An increase in anxiety can cause a patient to be restless, jittery, and agitated, all of which can cause unanticipated movement and hence a deleterious outcome. People are social beings. Interaction with and among other people provides and conveys support, comfort, and reassurance. Touch, specifically hand holding, has been shown to decrease anxiety and stress in multiple situations. It is minimally invasive, safe, reassuring and could allow patients to communicate during procedures where verbal communication, if done without parameters, as in cataract surgery, could be devastating. The findings of this study failed to reveal a significant difference in post op anxiety scores in either the treatment group or the non treatment group. However, subjectively, those people who received hand holding strongly agreed that hand holding helped to decrease anxiety during the procedure. The physician rating for patient compliance did not reveal a significant level of increase with the intervention during surgery. Again, subjectively, the majority of patients strongly agreed that hand holding did help them to be more compliant to the surgeon's request. None of the participants that received hand holding felt an intrusion of personal space during the treatment. Results strongly suggest, at least subjectively, that hand holding is beneficial in decreasing anxiety, increasing compliance to intraoperative request, and is much welcomed, beneficial nursing intervention.
Anxiety, Cataract Surgery, Hand Holding
Date of Defense
December 14, 2006.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Peter B. Easton, Professor Directing Dissertation; Karen Laughlin, Outside Committee Member; Emanuel Shargel, Committee Member; Victoria-Maria MacDonald, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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