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Retina. 1994;14(4):356-8.

Intraocular gas and low-altitude air flight.

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1
Retina Center at Pali Momi, Aiea, HI 96701.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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.

PMID:
7817030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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