Vomiting is a common problem following strabismus surgery. We compared the effects of propofol-N2O and sevoflurane-N2O on the incidence of oculocardiac reflex and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Forty unpremedicated children, aged 3-15 years were randomly assigned to two groups of 20 patients. in group 1, anaesthesia was induced and maintained with propofol infusion(173 +/- 41 mu g.kg(-1).min(-1)). in group 2, anaesthesia was induced with N2O (66%) in O-2 and incremental sevoflurane via face mask and maintained with sevoflurane. Both groups received 66% N2O in O-2 throughout surgery. The overall incidence of vomiting and antiemetic requirement in the first 24 h was significantly higher in sevoflurane-N2O group than propofol-N2O group (P < 0.05). The propofol-N2O group had significantly more episodes of oculocardiac reflex than sevoflurane-N2O group (P < 0.05). Propofol-N2O anaesthesia results in a significantly lower incidence of postoperative vomiting, yet a significantly higher incidence of oculocardiac reflex.