ZocdocAnswersIs it OK to fly after eye surgery?

Question

Is it OK to fly after eye surgery?

Is it safe to fly after eye surgery? My mom recently got surgery to correct for a cataract, and we intended to travel over the holidays. But now I'm worried about the effects of the pressure drop if we take an airplane. I asked her doctor and he didn't really have a solid answer.

Answer

Questions about the eyes are best directed to an ophthalmologist. In particular, if you or someone you know has had surgery, questions about post-operative care should be addressed by the surgeon who performed the procedure. In general, flying after cataract surgery should not cause a problem as long as there were no complications with the surgery and traveling out of town does not disrupt scheduled post-operative appointments. The recirculated and dry air in an airplane may cause some irritation after eye surgery, but the use of artificial tear drops can help alleviate these sorts of symptoms. Potential problems with flying after an eye surgery would occur if any kind of gas bubble was placed in the eye during surgery. The pressurized air in the cabin during flight can cause a gas bubble to expand, potentially leading to deleterious effects on the eye and vision. This sort of a procedure is most often used with surgery on the retina and is not typically part of cataract surgery. With any kind of surgery it is important to follow the surgeon's post-operative instructions and to keep all follow-up appointments. In the case of eye surgery, it is often safe to travel following the surgery, but answering this question for a specific patient can only be done by the surgeon who performed the original surgery.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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