Pneumatic retinopexy is a method for fixing a detached retina without having to go to the operating room. This procedure involves injecting a gas bubble into the eye which floats towards the retina to hold the retina flat. The procedure also uses freezing or laser treatment to close the retinal tear(s) responsible for the detached retina. Patients are typically asked to have face-down position for one week following the procedure.
Pneumatic retinopexy is only indicated for certain types of retinal detachment. In addition, the success rate of pneumatic retinopexy is lower than surgical interventions for detached retinas such as scleral buckle and/or vitrectomy. However, evidence suggests that these other surgical options can be pursued following an ineffective pneumatic retinopexy without worsening the final outcome.
The risks of pneumatic retinopexy include pain, progression of the detached retina, lack of retinal reattachment, additional retinal tears, worsening of vision, cataract, bleeding, increased intraocular pressure, and infection. Patients should not fly or use inhaled anesthetics while they have a gas bubble in the eye.
Retina Care Consultants, P.A., are ophthalmologists specializing in performing pneumatic retinopexy. For more information regarding pneumatic retinopexy, click on the links to articles written by Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane here.