Effects of hyperbaric exposure on eyes with intraocular gas bubbles

Stephen V. Jackman, John T. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Air travel is known to be potentially hazardous for patients with intraocular gas bubbles, and the external pressure changes associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy and scuba diving could be similarly dangerous. Methods: Rabbits with a perfluoropropane/air gas mixture filling approximately 60% of the vitreous cavity of the right eye were exposed to 3 different hyperbaric pressure profiles to an equivalent depth of 33 feet. The first group were a control group and were not exposed to hyperbaric pressures. The second group remained at an equivalent depth of 33 feet for 30 minutes, and the third group remained at 33 feet for 1 minute. Both groups ascended to normal atmospheric pressure at a rate of 1 foot per minute. The fourth group remained at 33 feet for 1 minute and then ascended at a rate of 0.2 feet per minute. Results: In all eyes with an intraocular gas bubble, intraocular pressure dropped to zero when the atmospheric pressure was increased, and rose to more than 50 mmHg when the atmospheric pressure was returned to normal. Pressures in excess of 50 mmHg were sustained for 10 minutes or longer in each rabbit exposed to one of the hyperbaric profiles. No significant intraocular pressure changes were observed in eyes without an intraocular gas bubble or eyes not exposed to hyperbaric pressure. Conclusion: Marked elevation in intraocular pressure occurs as a result of hyperbaric exposure in eyes with an intraocular gas bubble. Hyperbaric exposure is therefore not advisable for patients with intraocular gas bubbles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalRetina
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Keywords

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Intraocular gas
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Perfluoropropane
  • Retinal detachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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