Pneumatic Retinopexy

The retina is the layer of cells located at the back of the eye responsible for transforming light into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain for processing. If the retina becomes detached, you can lose all or part of your vision in the affected eye. If left untreated, this can cause permanent vision loss.

Pneumatic retinopexy is an in-office procedure that can be performed to repair a detached retina and restore vision. It involves your ophthalmologist injecting an expanding gas bubble into your eye. The gas bubble gently pushes the retina back into place and keeps it there to aid in its reattachment. This is followed by your doctor using a laser or freeze treatment to seal any associated retinal tears that led to the detachment to try and keep it from happening again.

Who’s A Good Candidate for Pneumatic Retinopexy?

Usually, a pneumatic retinopexy is recommended for patients who have:


  • A single tear
  • A tear located in the upper portion of the retina
  • The ability to maintain the proper position for several days after surgery

How Is a Pneumatic Retinopexy Performed?

Prior to pneumatic retinopexy, your retina specialist will numb your eyes and dilate them with eye drops. A small amount of gas is then injected into the vitreous to create a bubble. Your doctor will use an ophthalmoscope to look into your eye to position the bubble correctly. From there, your doctor will perform laser surgery or cryopexy to seal any retinal tears.

Recovery Time

The most difficult part of recovery is keeping the gas bubble in the right place until it is naturally absorbed by your body. You will need to keep your head in a certain position for most hours of the day for one to three weeks after surgery to keep the bubble pressed against the retina. This means lying face down or on your side. You cannot lie on your back or fly in an airplane until given clearance by your doctor.

Are There Any Risks With Pneumatic Retinopexy?

Most people do well with their pneumatic retinopexy, but complications can sometimes occur. Risks from a pneumatic retinopexy can depend on your age, medical condition, and the specifics of your retinal detachment.

Although rare, possible complications may include:


  • Persistent or recurrent detachment of your retina
  • Trapped gas in your eye
  • Inflammation in your eye
  • Increase in your eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • Bleeding in your eye
  • New retinal tears

Other Treatment Options

There are other treatment options available for repairing a detached retina including:

The vitreoretinal surgeons at the Dean McGee Eye Institute can also perform these surgeries. They are happy to discuss these treatment options with you.

Pneumatic Retinopexy at Dean McGee Eye Institute

The Dean McGee Eye Institute has been a leading provider of eye care for 45 years. Our vitreoretinal specialists have decades of experience treating retinal detachments and other disorders and diseases of the retina and vitreous. Browse our online provider directory to learn more about our team or call 405.271.1092 or 800.787.9014 to schedule an appointment. We are here to provide the care you need.