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Pneumatic Retinopexy

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Pneumatic retinopexy is a office based technique used to treat certain types of retinal detachment.   The main benefit is it is less invasive and avoids surgery.  

Retinal detachment occurs when the gel inside the eye (the vitreous) pulls away from the retina and causes a retinal tear. Sometimes this occurs because of trauma but most of the time it is a natural age-related process. Once the retina is torn, fluid can move from the middle of the eye through the tear into the space between the retina and the eye wall. As more fluid enters this space, the retina cleaves (or "detaches") from the eye wall. If the retinal detachment extends into the central part of the retina, central vision may be damaged.

Pneumatic retinopexy consist of three parts:

1. A small amount of fluid is removed from the eye in order to make place for the gas. 

2. Gas is injected into the back part of the eye (vitreous cavity). When the head is later positioned appropriately, this bubble plugs the retinal tear and allows the subretinal fluid to be reabsorbed by the eye.

3. The tear in the retina needs to be sealed to the eye wall. This is usually done with laser treatment or cryotherapy, a freezing treatment applied to the outside of the eye after numbing medications are given.

Positioning by the patient immediately after this procedure is critical. Make sure you understand your doctor's positioning instructions before leaving the office. 

Not all retinal detachments can be fixed using pneumatic retinopexy.  Your doctor will discuss with you the various options available for repair of retinal detachment, depending on the specifics of your detachment.

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