Research Article on the Retrobulbar Block for Ocular Procedures

This block can be used in field or referral settings for a number of procedures.

This block can be used in field or referral settings for a number of procedures. iStock/Fotoedu

According to the Langford Vets Equine Referral Hospital newsletter, “Our Junior Clinical Training Scholar in Equine Medicine and Surgery; Rachael McKinney has been sharing the findings of her research project with other vets in our recent company-wide seminar. Rachael is working along-side our ophthalmology Specialist David Donaldson to create an in-depth map of the muscles around the horse’s eye. The outcomes of this project will help to explore the possibility of using different techniques to perform nerve blocks in the equine eye, which could potentially be safer and more effective than current methods. This valuable research is therefore important for refining the techniques which allow for surgery and examination of the equine eye. Rachael is hoping to complete this project before she finishes her internship position, and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact that Rachael and David’s work will have on the field of equine ophthalmology world-wide.”

McKinney published an open access article in the Equine Veterinary Education journal from the AAEP and BEVA earlier this year titled, “The Retrobulbar Block: A Review of Techniques Used and Reported Complications.” 

In her study, McKinney stated, “The retrobulbar nerve block (RBNB) involves injecting local anaesthetic directly within the periorbita…” and said it can be useful in field or referral settings in a number of procedures. She said this block “has the advantage of adding safety to a procedure by removing the requirement for general anaesthetic by facilitating standing procedures (Pollock et al. 2008), as well as impeding the cardiac changes of the oculocardiac reflex (OCR).”

You can read this open access article from the online library of

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