Pneumatic Retinopexy for Retinal Tears and Detachment
Pneumatic retinopexy is the injection of a gas bubble into the eye. The purpose is to push the retinal tear or detachment against the back of the eye so that the retina reattaches to the back surface layers. This treatment is used with cryotherapy or laser treatment for retinal tears.
Vision and eye pressure are checked before the treatment. The eye to be treated is dilated. Numbing drops are placed in the eye. Then the doctor will insert a tiny needle about 1/8 inch from the iris (colored part of the eye). A small amount of fluid is taken out of the eye and a small amount of gas is injected. The gas always floats upward. The doctor will tell you which position to hold your head so the bubble stays in the right place. The bubble is supposed to push against the tear or detachment and hold it flat against the back of the eye.
The bubble will last 2-6 weeks before it goes away. It will make vision blurry. You should not travel by airplane during this time because lower pressure at higher altitude allows the bubble inside the eye to expand. Ask your doctor about other restrictions. You can use Tylenol®, 2 tablets every 4 hours, if needed.
If you have any concerns or any other changes in vision please call the clinic at
(608) 263-7171. After clinic hours this number is transferred to the paging operator. Ask for the Eye Resident on-call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7310.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/09/2011
Copyright © 07/12/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5099
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