Use of nitrous oxide causing severe visual loss 37 days after retinal surgery

Br J Anaesth. 2004 Sep;93(3):464-6. doi: 10.1093/bja/aeh213. Epub 2004 Jun 25.


A case of severe visual loss following nitrous oxide anaesthesia in the presence of an intraocular perfluoropropane (C3F8) gas bubble is described. The diabetic patient had previously undergone vitreoretinal surgery at which time the gas had been inserted. The case highlights the use of long-acting intraocular gases in modern vitreoretinal surgery, and the measures that can be taken to prevent further such episodes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / adverse effects*
  • Fluorocarbons / adverse effects
  • Gases / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrous Oxide / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Gases
  • perflutren
  • Nitrous Oxide