HF 5099

Pneumatic Retinopexy for Retinal Tears and Detachment

Pneumatic retinopexy is an in-office treatment for retinal detachment. Some retinal detachments can be treated this way and avoid surgery in the operating room. The procedure uses an injected gas bubble 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 (freezing) or laser treatment.


The eye to be treated is dilated and examined in the office. Numbing eye drops and a shot are given. Cryotherapy to the retina tear may be done first. A small amount of fluid is taken out of the eye and a small amount of gas is injected through the white of the eye. The doctor will tell you which position to hold your head for several days, so the bubble stays in the right place. The bubble pushes against the tear or detachment to hold it flat against the back of the eye.

A check-up is done 1-2 days after the procedure. Sometimes you will be asked to come back for laser treatment.

The bubble will last 2-6 weeks and will slowly go away on its own. It will make vision blurry and block the lower vision.

You should not travel by airplane during this time because lower pressure at higher altitude allows the bubble inside the eye to expand. There may be other limits on activity and positioning.

Sometimes eye drops are needed. You can use Acetaminophen if needed.

If you have any concerns or any other changes in vision, please call the clinic.

Who to Call

University Station Eye Clinic,
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - 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.

Toll free- 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the above number.