Asheesh Tewari, MD the Retina Expert :: Patient Education
Patient Education :: Intraocular Gas Bubble

The following information is for anyone who has recently undergone surgery involving a gas bubble.

A bubble of gas has been placed in your eye to help hold the retina in position during the healing. The bubble is acting as a splint to hold the retina. The body will eventually absorb the bubble. You will see it becoming smaller and smaller as time goes on. In order for the bubble to work, it must be pushing against the area where there are holes in your retina. You will be instructed about how to position your head so that the bubble is most effective for your condition. If you are instructed to maintain a facedown position, you may fold your hands under your head. If you begin to notice numbness and tingling in your little finger and the finger next to it, this could be a result of stretching of the nerves. When this sensation begins to be a problem, you should stretch that arm straight out to reduce the tension on the nerve so that you relieve this symptom.

Some points to remember about the bubble:

1. As long as the bubble is large in the eye, the vision will be very blurry.

2. The bubble will eventually go away by itself. Depending on the gas used and the condition you have, this may take between one and eight weeks.

3. The bubble will gradually get smaller and it will probably appear that it is being seen at the bottom part of your eye. It is actually at the top, but the eye turns things upside down in your vision.

4. As the bubble becomes smaller, you will begin to see it as a line across your vision. This line may jiggle as you walk as the bubble moves around slightly in the eye. Some people are very bothered by the motion of the bubble in their vision when they walk or try to read. If this is disturbing to you, you may patch the eye with a soft cotton patch or buy a black patch to wear until these symptoms subside.

5. Eventually the bubble may break up into a few small bubbles, which will float around.

6. You should not travel in an airplane as long as there is a gas bubble in the eye. When there is a gas bubble in the eye, it may expand after the airplane takes off and cause the pressure in the eye to rise significantly. If there is any question about exactly when you may fly, consult your physician.

7. If you need to undergo general anesthesia during the time the bubble is in the eye, you need to inform the anesthesiologist since the bubble may swell and cause the eye pressure to rise during general anesthesia.