Relaxing music before eye surgery helps patients feel less anxious and reduces their need for sedation.
The patients cannot wear headphones during the operation because of the liquids used in the procedure.
The effects of the pre-surgery music, however, last for up to 60 minutes after the music has stopped.
A study on patients having cataract operations under local anaesthetic showed a 39 point difference in anxiety levels between those who listened to music beforehand and those who did not.
The study was carried out at Cochin University Hospital in Paris.
The music group also received 16pc less sedatives during surgery and their satisfaction with the operation was 71pc compared to 55pc for the non-music group.
Music specifically composed to ease anxiety with a decreasing tempo and a progressive drop in the number of instruments playing, was used during the operations.
It was provided by MUSIC CARE, a Parish based company that produces music aimed at preventing and managing pain, anxiety and depression.
The patients who used music before the eye operations, listened through high quality headphones for about 15 minutes before surgery which also lasted about 15 minutes.
Each patient was able to choose from a panel of 16 recorded music styles according to their own preferences. The styles included jazz, flamenco, Cuban, classical and piano.
“Music listening may be considered as an inexpensive, non-invasive, non-pharmacological method to reduce anxiety for patients undergoing elective eye surgery under local anaesthesia.” said Dr Gilles Guerrier of the University.
“The objective is to provide music to all patients before eye surgery.
“We intend to assess the procedure in other type of surgeries, including orthopaedics where regional anaesthesia is common.”
The research was presented to the Euroanaesthesia conference in London.