Undergoing A Pneumatic Retinopexy For A Detached Retina

Many cases of retinal detachment must be treated through invasive surgeries like a vitrectomy or scleral buckling, but if you are lucky, you may qualify for a less risky operation known as a pneumatic retinopexy instead. But while this procedure is a relatively simple one at any eye surgery center, you will still need to take care to prevent potentially serious complications for weeks or even months after the surgery. If you have recently suffered a detached retina, these four points will guide you through the process of a pneumatic retinopexy and its recovery. 

Understanding When Pneumatic Retinopexy is Used 

Not everyone with a detached retina is eligible for a pneumatic retinopexy. The detached area must be relatively small, and it must be located within the top half of your eye. You will also need to be able to sit still for several hours without moving. This is because of the unique process used to reattach your retina without needing to make a surgical incision. 

Exerting Pressure on the Retina

During a pneumatic retinopexy, your surgeon or ophthalmologist will inject a tiny bubble of air into your eye while you are perfectly positioned. The bubble will then float up and bump into your detached retina, pushing it gently back into place. You must then hold your position until the retina and the fluids around it have settled back into their normal positions. Although it can be a long wait, many patients prefer skipping surgery, anesthesia and all of the possible complications they can cause. 

Sealing the Retina in Place

The final step of this procedure is to seal the retina back into place, which is performed either with a cold probe or a hot laser, depending on personal preference. Your retina should continue to heal on its own after this, and the air bubble will remain to hold it in place. With any luck, the seal will hold and your vision will be returned to normal within a few short weeks. 

Avoiding Complications During Recovery 

Unfortunately, you will be somewhat limited in your actions for as long as the air bubble remains. You will not, for example, be able to fly in an airplane, the pressure of which can cause the air bubble to expand, possibly causing blindness. During this time, you should also avoid strenuous exercise or roller coasters. Your ophthalmologist will schedule one or more follow-up appointments to monitor the bubble and decide when it is safe to fly again. Despite all the hassle, most patients emerge from a pneumatic retinopexy with their vision restored and no concerns about the potential side effects of surgery. If you have any other questions or concerns about this procedure, call your local ophthalmologist or eye surgery center to learn more about your individual case. 

For an eye surgery center, contact a clinic such as Dixie Ophthalmic Specialists at Zion Eye Institute.