After a gas bubble is inserted into the eye during a procedure for an eye disorder, the bubble remains for one to three weeks, according to WebMD. The bubble must stay in place, so patients need to keep their heads in specific positions most of the time.
Patients typically position their heads so that they are looking down, or they lie on their sides, explains NJ Retina. If proper head position is not maintained and the bubble is dislodged, complications are likely. In certain cases, a displaced bubble leads to cataract formation, high eye pressure or corneal damage. Sometimes the bubble shifts and presses against the eye's lens, states WebMD. Air travel is also restricted until the bubble disappears because it can expand, exerting more pressure on the eye.
While the bubble is in place, patients have poor vision, warns NJ Retina. They sometimes experience significant glare or double vision. It is possible to notice the bubble as it becomes smaller. Toward the end of recovery, the bubble often splits into several smaller ones.
A gas bubble is part of surgery for a detached retina, says WebMD. After the bubble is injected into the eye, it moves so it is pressing against the detachment. The doctor then closes the tear. During the recovery period, the bubble flattens the retina so it heals in its proper place. Over time, the eye absorbs the gas bubble.