Pneumatic retinopexy is an effectivetreatment optional available for repairing retinal detachments.
During this procedure, a small gas bubble is gently injected into the vitreal space of the eye. This gas bubble helps hold the retina in place,which allows the tear or detachment to heal in proper position by pushing the retina flat against the back wall of the eye forcing any fluid that may have leaked behind the retina to be pumped out.
Throughout this procedure, the patient’s head will be positioned facing downwards, this is so that the gas bubble can float upwards to the back of the eye, which is the area in which retinal detachments occur. Here, the gas bubble will gently press against the retina so that it remains flat and can begin healing in the correct position.
Once the retina has been laid flat, cryotherapy or laser therapy is used toseal the detachment so that the retina can remain fixed in the correct position at the back of the eye. The gas bubble will remain inside the eye during the recovery period but will be gradually absorbed naturally.
Recovery after Pneumatic Retinopexy
The most challenging part of the recovery process after undergoing pneumatic retinopexy is maintaining proper head position during the healing process.
The gas bubble needs to remain in the same, correct position within the eye, depending on the location of the retinal detachment. Here, the gas bubble needs to rest until a seal forms between the retina and the wall of the eye. This means that the patient’sneed to keep their head restingin the correct position for about 90% of the day, for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery so that the detachment can heal. Your retina specialist will provide you with instructions to follow during recovery.
For the first 2 weeks after undergoing pneumatic retinopexy, please take note of the following:
- All air travel is strongly not recommended.
- Driving any type of motorized vehicle.
- Avoid activities involving lifting weight over 5-10 lbs.
- Avoid activities involving bending at the waist (household chores, fitness/exercise, sports).
- Avoid going into pools, hot tubs, lakes or bathtubs. You may shower keeping your eye covered to avoid getting any water into the eye.
- Avoid reading or computer work. This also includes use of mobile devices such as iPhones, smart phones, and tablets.
- You may watch television as this involves less eye movement and strain but remain at a distance of at least 6 feet or more.
- You can expect some blurring of vision 4-6 weeks following surgery, and may experience an overall blurring for distance and reading. This should progressively improve.
Contact your physician right away if you notice any signs of complications after surgery, such as:
- A sudden decrease in vision.
- Increasing pain.
- Increasing redness.
- Excessive swelling around the eye.
- Any light sensitivity or discharge from the eye (other than clear/watering).
- Any new floaters, flashes of light, or changes in your field of vision.