Diving and hyperbaric ophthalmology

Surv Ophthalmol. 1995 Mar-Apr;39(5):347-66. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(05)80091-8.


Exposure of the human body to ambient pressures greater than that at sea level may result in various disorders, some of which have ocular manifestations. Additionally, some eye disorders and postoperative states may be adversely affected by the underwater environment or other hyperbaric exposures. The prevalence of recreational, military, and commercial diving, as well as the medical use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, requires that ophthalmologists be familiar with the effects of the hyperbaric environment on the normal and diseased eye. The ophthalmology and diving medical literatures were surveyed for publications relating to the ophthalmic aspects of diving and hyperbaric exposures. Underwater optics, underwater refractive correction, and ophthalmic aspects of a fitness-to-dive evaluation are summarized. The evaluation and management of ocular manifestations of decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism are reviewed and guidelines for diving after ocular surgery are proposed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barotrauma / etiology
  • Barotrauma / physiopathology
  • Barotrauma / therapy
  • Contact Lenses
  • Decompression Sickness / etiology
  • Decompression Sickness / physiopathology
  • Decompression Sickness / therapy
  • Diving*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Eye Injuries / physiopathology
  • Eye Injuries / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / adverse effects*
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Oxygen / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Vision Disorders / therapy
  • Wound Healing


  • Oxygen