Pneumatic Retinopexy


This outpatient procedure is most commonly used to treat a detached retina on the upper half of the eye.


In preparation for the procedure, the eye is numbed and the area around the eye is cleaned.

Softening the Eye

A small amount of fluid is withdrawn from the eye's anterior chamber. This creates some space inside the eye.

Injecting the Bubble

The physician injects a bubble of gas into the eye's rear chamber. The bubble expands and floats to the top of the eye. It presses against the detached retina.

Treating the Tear

The physician treats the tear in the retina with laser therapy (shown in this animation) or with a freezing process called cryopexy. Both methods cause scar tissue to form. This seals the hole to prevent fluid from leaking into the space behind the retina.

After Care

The bubble in the eye will disappear in one to two weeks. During this time, the patient must follow the physician's directions to keep the head in the correct position for a prescribed amount of time. The patient must avoid airplane travel. High altitudes could cause the gas bubble to expand, creating dangerous pressure in the eye.