The most common restrictions following retinal detachment repair include avoiding air travel, maintaining certain head positions, and avoiding high-level visual tasks.
A retinal detachment occurs when the retina spontaneously separates from the back of the eye, most commonly between the ages of 50 and 70. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate repair by an ophthalmologist trained in retina surgery. Surgical repair of a retinal detachment typically involves the injection of a gas bubble into the eye, which temporarily stabilizes the retina while laser treatment provides long term attachment.
It is important that the gas bubble flatten the area of retinal detachment. Since a gas bubble floats towards the ceiling, patients are frequently advised to take certain head positions to move the bubble over the detachment. This positioning typically lasts for one week after retinal detachment repair.
In addition to positioning for one week, patients are restricted from flying until the gas dissipates over a period of 2-8 weeks. Altitude will cause a gas bubble to expand and pressurize the eye, leading to permanent blindness. Patients are also encouraged to avoid any activities that require high-level visual acuity or depth perception, which may include driving or manual labor.