Can I fly after retinal detachment surgery?

Restrictions regarding flying after retinal detachment surgery are due to the medical device gas that is injected into some patients’ eyes to encourage the retinal reattachment process. This gas might expand when the atmospheric pressure drops, as is the case at high altitudes, leading to an increase in intraocular pressure and, as a result, damage to the optic nerve. To avoid this, we do not recommend travelling by plane until the gas has been completely reabsorbed. This process often takes between one week and a month, depending on each gas, and its evolution should be assessed by your ophthalmologist. There is no problem in flying once the air bubble has completely disappeared from the ocular cavity.  

Moreover, this initial restriction does not affect patients who have had silicone oil inserted instead of gas injections for the same purpose of helping keeping the retina in place. In contrast, this oil is a substance that is not reabsorbed and does not disappear on its own. Therefore, a second surgery is required to remove it after 2 to 6 months, whenever the surgeon considers suitable. 

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