Flying and Retinal Detachments

A retinal detachment is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention and treatment to avoid loss of vision. Retinal detachment can occur for any number of reasons including advanced disease (diabetic retinopathy), trauma (a sudden blow to the head) or from aging (the most common cause).

The retina is the light-sensing membrane that captures and transmits images to the brain. Most retinal detachments are originally caused by a small tear or hole in this sensitive retinal wall. In Phoenix, the surgeons at Associated Retina Consultants have broad experience treating patients with a detached retina using the latest surgical methods, such as laser surgery, scleral buckle, gas bubble injection and vitrectomy, to help patients retain their vision.

Following retinal detachment surgery, it is important that flying is completely avoided until your eye has fully healed. This is usually for 3 to 4 weeks after surgery but possibly longer after some retinal detachment surgeries. Sometimes during surgery a gas bubble is used to help keep the retina in place. Flying poses a risk to anyone who has had gas injected into their eye during a procedure. At higher altitudes, injected gas in the eye will expand with a potentially damaging and painful increase in eye pressure. Although commercial airplane cabins are pressurized, the amount of pressurization is typically inadequate to prevent such an event.

To learn more about retinal detachments, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or associatedretinaconsultants.com.