Intraocular gas and low-altitude air flight.
Air travel has been contraindicated for patients with intraocular gas on the basis of experimental studies, because of the risk of elevated intraocular pressure during atmospheric depressurization.
A clinical study of gas bubble volume and intraocular pressure rise during a low-altitude air flight was performed on a patient with a gas bubble volume of 65% after retinal detachment surgery.
The flight was well tolerated, and the patient did not experience pain or decreased vision. The maximum altitude of the flight was 3,000. Maximum intraocular pressure was 49 mmHg, with a baseline of 16 mmHg. Increases in intraocular pressure and bubble volume were instantaneous with changes in altitude. Implications for pressurized flight situations are discussed.
Low-altitude air flight can be well tolerated by patients with intraocular gas, even with a relatively large vitreous cavity gas fill. Decisions about when to let patients with intraocular gas fly should be made on an case-to-case basis, depending on ocular factors and the planned flight characteristics.
Retina Center at Pali Momi, Aiea, HI 96701.
SourceRetina (Philadelphia, Pa.) 14:4 1994 pg 356-8
Pub Type(s)Case Reports