Retinal detachments can cause permanent vision loss. A pneumatic retinopexy is an in-office procedure to fix a retinal detachment. It is an effective, non-invasive method of retinal detachment repair in certain cases. Retinal detachments occur when a retinal tear or break allows fluid behind the retina. This fluid pushes the retina off from the wall of the eye. With a pneumatic retinopexy an air bubble is inserted into the eye to help push the retina and wall of the eye back together and reattach.
A local numbing agent is used before the doctor inserts an minute amount of a long acting gas into your eye. The bubble floats on top of the vitreous gel that fills the eye using gravity and the difference in density between the two. Its effectiveness is dependent upon your positioning for the next 5-8 days as the bubble pushes the retina back into place. The doctor may also use cryotherapy or laser to seal the tear that caused the detachment in the first place.
A pneumatic retinopexy offers several advantages over surgical retinal detachment repair. There is often less discomfort and recovery than going into surgery. There is also no need for MAC or general anesthesia as in surgery. There is also a lower risk of infection versus the larger incisions used in vitrectomy surgery.
Unfortunately, not all retinal detachments can be fixed with a pneumatic retinopexy. Retinal tears causing detachments in the superior portion of the eye that are close enough together may be able to be covered by the air bubble. Since correct positioning is vitally important to the success of the procedure, some tears and detachments are not good candidates. The success rate for this type of procedure is slightly lower than operating room procedures, but does not hinder the success of further surgery such as vitrectomy or scleral buckling if necessary.
Rest assured that your vision will be handled with the utmost of care at Retina Specialists of Michigan. Our physicians will always give you all the options; recommending the most appropriate course for your specific circumstances. See what makes our staff different and make an appointment today by calling (616) 954-2020.