Going into hospital for eye cancer surgery

Your nurse will check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate. 

If you have any questions about your operation the nurses can arrange for a member of the surgical team to come and talk to you. You'll sign a consent form for the operation if you didn't do it at the pre assessment clinic.

You might have a drip (intravenous infusion) put into your arm before your surgery so that you can have fluids through it. This makes sure you are not dehydrated before your operation.

Checklist

Your nurse will go through a series of questions on a checklist to make sure you are ready for surgery. They ask you to:

  • tell them when you last had something to eat and drink 
  • change into a hospital gown
  • put on a pair of surgical stockings
  • take off any jewellery (except for a wedding ring)
  • take off any make up, including nail varnish
  • remove contact lenses if you have them
  • put on 2 hospital identification bands, usually one on each wrist

If you have false teeth you can usually keep them in until you get to the anaesthetic room.

Before you go to the operating theatre your surgeon will carefully mark the eye that you are going to have surgery to. 

Medicine to relax

Your nurse might give you a tablet or an injection to help you relax. This will be an hour or so before you go to the operating theatre. This makes your mouth feel dry but you can rinse your mouth with water to keep it moist.

If you've had medicine to help you relax your nurse and a porter take you to theatre on a trolley. You can walk down to the theatre if you haven't had any.

Having an anaesthetic

You have an anaesthetic so that you can’t feel anything during the operation. You have this in the anaesthetic room, next to the operating theatre.

All the doctors and nurses wear theatre gowns, hats and masks. This reduces your chance of getting an infection.

The anaesthetist puts a small tube into a vein in your arm (cannula). You have any fluids and medicines you need through the cannula including the general anaesthetic. This sends you into a deep sleep. When you wake up, the operation will be over.

What to take with you

It may be helpful to take a pair of dark glasses with you into hospital.  Some people like to wear these until the swelling has gone down. Dark glasses can also help to protect the area and reduce any sensitivity to light that you might have. 

You could also take in:

  • nightgowns or pyjamas
  • underwear
  • dressing gown
  • slippers
  • wash bag with soap, a flannel or sponge, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • sanitary wear or tampons
  • razor
  • towel
  • small amount of money
  • medicines you normally take
  • magazines, books
  • headphones and music to listen to
  • a tablet or smartphone for web browsing, entertainment and phone calls

Family and friends

Before you go into hospital, it might be worth checking:

  • whether the ward is allowing visitors
  • if they have set visiting times
  • the best number for friends and family to phone, to find out how you are

The letter you receive before your operation may contain this information. But if not, you can phone the ward or hospital reception to find out.

You can use your mobile phone in hospital. But there may be some time before and after your operation when you won’t have your mobile nearby. And you may not feel like talking.

Before you go into hospital

It’s worth sorting out a few things before you go into hospital. These might include:

  • work
  • care for children or other loved ones
  • care for your pets
  • care for your house
  • cancelling your milk or newspapers
Last reviewed: 
07 Oct 2021
Next review due: 
07 Oct 2021
  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (9th edition)
    L. Dougherty and S. Lister
    Wiley Blackwell, 2015

  • Uveal Melanoma Guidelines
    Melanoma Focus, January 2015

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