Researchers have developed a new technique that could be using during cataract surgery to reduce the anxiety felt by patients.
The study, carried out in Thailand, was presented this week at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and involved the use of audio therapy called binaural beats.
Patients undergoing surgery were given headphones that released two tones - one into each ear - pitched at a slightly different frequency.
This encourages alpha-frequency brainwaves to be produced which create a feeling of relaxation and reduced pain.
It was found that the patients who were exposed to binaural beats before, during and after cataract surgery were significantly less anxious, had lower blood pressure and a lower heart rate than their counterparts who did not have the treatment.
Most cases of cataracts will require surgery and this can be worrying for the patient, who must be awake throughout, even though it is a short procedure.
"It's increasingly important for ophthalmologists to explore new ways to improve patient care for seniors," said lead author of the research Dr Pornpattana Vichitvejpaisal.