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. A numbing shot may be given. Cryotherapy (freezing treatment) to the retina tear may be done first. 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 limits. You can use Acetaminophen if needed.
If you have any concerns or any other changes in vision, please call the clinic.
University Station Eye Clinic, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (608) 263-7171
When the clinic is closed, your call will be forwarded to the hospital paging operator. Ask for the “Eye Resident on Call”. Give the operator your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the above number.