How Long Does Pneumatic Retinopexy Take?

The retina is the part of your eye that sends images through your optic nerve to the brain and is essential to your vision. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye and its blood supply. Without a blood supply, the retinal cells will start to die. This condition can cause permanent damage to your vision if not treated promptly. Reattaching the retina quickly is essential to prevent such a serious complication.

There are several types of surgery to repair a detached retina. A simple tear in the retina can be treated with freezing, called cryotherapy, or a laser procedure. Different types of retinal detachment require different kinds of surgery and different levels of anesthesia. The type of procedure your doctor chooses will depend on the severity of the detachment.  

One method of retinal detachment repair is pneumatic retinopexy. During pneumatic retinopexy, our doctors will inject a gas bubble into the middle of your eyeball. The bubble presses against the detached retina and pushes it back into place. A laser or cryotherapy is then used to reattach the retina firmly into place. The gas bubble typically dissolves a few days to weeks following the procedure.

The pneumatic retinopexy procedure is typically completed within 30 minutes. Most of this time is used for fully numbing the eye so that you don’t feel any discomfort. The procedure itself lasts about a minute.

Until the gas bubble dissolves, you will need to avoid flying on an airplane, significant change in altitude and avoid anesthesia with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which is sometimes used by dentists for in-office procedures.

If not treated quickly, a retinal detachment can cause partial or total vision loss. If you notice changes to your vision, do not delay in seeking treatment. Contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website to learn more. 

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