BACKGROUND We evaluated the anesthetic efficacy and the postoperative analgesic effects of 0.75% levobupivacaine versus 0.75% ropivacaine for peribulbar anesthesia in patients undergoing primary vitreoretinal surgery. METHODS We investigated 120 patients subjected to vitreoretinal surgery under peribulbar anesthesia. They were randomized into two equal groups according to the local anesthetic (LA) used, namely, 0.75% levobupivacaine or 0.75% ropivacaine, both with the addition of hyaluronidase. Nerve block was carried out by injection of 5-7 mL of the LA using single injection percutaneous peribulbar anesthesia with a short needle. RESULTS When compared with 0.75% ropivacaine, 0.75% levobupivacaine provided more successful akinesia at 10 min after block (P=0.026), fewer supplementary injections (P=0.026), and less volume (mL) was used (P=0.031). Also, levobupivacaine provided significantly longer motor block duration (342±27 min versus 206±40 min, P=0.001) and significantly longer sensory block duration (513±24 min versus 394±11 min, P=0.001) when compared with ropivacaine. In the postoperative period, the patients in the levobupivacaine group achieved lower values of verbal numeric rating scale of pain compared with patients in the ropivacaine group among the period from 4 to 12 h. Also, there were significantly (P=0.001) lower diclofenac consumption (mg) and the percentage of patients who required tramadol rescue medication were significantly less (P=0.034) in the levobupivacaine group compared with the ropivacaine group. CONCLUSION We are concluding that, at equipotent doses and concentrations, 0.75% levobupivacaine provides more effective peribulbar anesthesia and more effective postoperative analgesia for vitreoretinal surgery compared with 0.75% ropivacaine.