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Can I fly after my eye surgery?

Can I fly after my eye surgery?

Created on: Thursday, April 06, 2017
Author: Milwaukee Eye Care Associates

Spring and Summer will be here before we know it and with the lovely weather comes travel and vacation plans. Sometimes life interferes and foils our itinerary. We can never predict when a medical condition might pop up and cause us to rethink travel plans. It is common for us to field questions regarding travel after eye surgery. Here's a little 'what to expect' guide: 

Cataract Surgery:     It is okay to fly after cataract surgery in nearly all cases. However, rare complications could result in the need to cancel travel plans. Talk to your doctor if you have specific travel questions.

Retinal Detachment Repair:     Get the surgeon's permission before flying.  It is not uncommon for a gas bubble to be placed in the eye to help hold the retina in position. Flying before the gas bubble has cleared can be dangerous, as the gas bubble may expand with changes in cabin pressure during flight and result in significant eye damage. Another activity to avoid at this time would be scuba diving, again due to pressure changes.

Glaucoma Surgery:     With most types of glaucoma surgeries, such as a peripheral iridotomy or a tube shunt, it is okay to fly the next day. It's best to talk to your doctor about your travel plans with regard to your specific procedure. 

Corneal Transplant:     Although flying after transplant is okay in many cases, there are some corneal procedures during which the doctor will use a gas bubble, causing flying soon after to be very dangerous. Again, be sure to check with the surgeon to make sure it is okay to fly.

*Dr. Jason Edmonds recommends flying restrictions when having a partial-thickness corneal transplant called a DSEK (or DSAEK).

What about other medical eye conditions? Can I still fly?

The answer in short is yes, in almost all cases. Eye conditions which preclude safe air travel are rare. However, if you have a recent onset of light flashes and/or new floaters, have your eyes examined prior to travel to rule out a retinal tear or detachment, especially if you are traveling to a remote location. Also, if you suffer from dry eyes, make sure you take some artificial tears along to keep your eyes comfortable during flight.

Enjoy your warm weather travels!

Written by Bart W. Technician with Milwaukee Eye Care Associates

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