Relaxis, an FDA-cleared, non-drug approach to treating restless legs syndrome (RLS), has been used to help a majority of RLS patients avoid general anesthesia during cataract surgery. This is according to a new article published in the September 2016 issue of Outpatient Surgery Magazine.

The article, published by Anthony Mannarino, PhD, of Langhorne, Pa, reports that a growing number of RLS patients had been requiring general rather than the preferred local anesthesia during their surgical procedures. However, once the Relaxis pad was placed under RLS patients’ calves and the therapeutic vibrations were adjusted to counteract their RLS symptoms, Mannarino was able to safely perform cataract surgery under local anesthesia 93% of the time, with only one case out of 15 total requiring conversion to general anesthesia.

In his article, Mannarino concludes that “the results from our recent Relaxis trial were impressive.”

Cataract Surgery, RLS Both Progressive, Age-Related Conditions

“We find the results of Dr Mannarino’s work encouraging, because both RLS and the cataracts are progressive, age-related medical conditions,” says Fred Burbank, MD, president of Sensory NeuroStimulation Inc, which makes Relaxis, in a release.

Each year, about 3.6 million of the 24.5 Americans with cataracts undergo surgery to replace their affected intraocular lens (IOL). According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the risk of developing cataracts increases with age; an estimated half of all Americans are projected to develop cataracts by the age of 75.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) estimates that as many as 12 million Americans may be suffering from RLS.

“The U.S. FDA has already validated the importance of Relaxis as a therapeutic option for RLS patients, and Dr Mannarino’s experience, while a relatively small sample and not part of an official clinical trial or current device indication, is promising based on its potential as a solution for the millions of people who have RLS and also may require cataract surgery,” Burbank says.