What Is the Role of a Gas Bubble in Eye Surgery?

A gas bubble is used to hold the retina in place during eye surgery, explains Retina Expert. An eye doctor uses gas bubbles to prevent or repair a detached retina and to close macular holes, states NJ Retina.

Eye doctors use gas bubbles during pneumatic retinopexy to repair detached retinas, says WebMD. The gas bubble is injected into the middle of the eye. If the patient’s head is positioned properly, the bubble will float to the area where the retina tore, and it then presses against the detachment. A laser beam or freezing probe seals the tear in the retina where the bubble is.

The gas bubble remains in the eye for one to three weeks before being absorbed by the body, according to WebMD. During that time, the bubble stabilizes the retina as a seal forms between the retina and the wall of the eye, and it helps keep the retina flat. While the gas bubble is inside the eye, it causes redness, swelling, floaters, flashes of light and decreasing vision.

Injection of a gas bubble into the eye is also used in vitrectomy, also known as vitreous surgery, for the same reasons it is used during pneumatic retinopexy, and for other reasons including to close macular holes, or holes in the center of the retina, explains NJ Retina.