What’s A Vitrectomy?
Vitrectomy is a form of eye surgery used to treat problems with the eye’s retina and vitreous. In this surgery an ophthalmologist might:
– Remove blood or other substances that hold the light from the correct focusing on the retina.
– Remove scar tissue that creases or tears the retina and causes poor vision.
– Help to repair an eye retina which has detached (pulled away) from the eye wall.
– Remove a foreign body that is stuck in the eye from an injury.
During a vitrectomy, the ophthalmologist will remove a part or all of the vitreous tissue from the middle of the eye.This vitreous is replaced with either a salt water (saline) solution or a gas or oil bubble.
When Is Vitrectomy Done?
An ophthalmologist might suggest a vitrectomy if you have any of these diseases or conditions:
– diabetic retinopathy, including bleeding as well as scar tissue affecting the retina or vitreous gel.
– some types of retinal detachment (when the retina detaches from the back of the eye)
– Macular hole (a crack or hole in the macula) Macular fold (folds or creases in the macula)
– an infection of the eye called endophthalmitis.
– major eye injury
– certain issues in cataract surgery
What Happens During A Vitrectomy?
Vitrectomy is generally performed in an outpatient surgery centre. There will be a local or general anaesthetic to numb the eye. The operation can last from 1 to several hours.
A small incision is done in the white of the eye (sclera) during the operation. The surgeon is going to take a microscope to look into your eyes. Tiny tools will be used to perform one or more of these steps:
– Remove all cloudy vitreous bodies
– Remove scar tissue of the retina
– Remove cataracts
– Remove all objects that may not be in the eye
– Move the retina back to the correct position against the back of the eye
– Use a laser to correct a torn retina or other procedure
– Place a bubble of air or gas in the eye to keep the retina in place (the bubble will go away by itself)
– Insert a silicone oil bubble into the eye (oil will be removed later during the second surgery).
After the surgery, you will be monitored both during your rest and after anaesthesia. Then you can go home.
What Happens After Surgery?
Your ophthalmologist will prescribe medicine to help relieve pain, including eye drops that should be used up to 4 weeks. During the first few days it is recommended to wear an eye patch to protect the eye. Your doctor will tell you when you can safely get back to doing your normal activities.
Vitrectomy Surgery Risks
As with any surgery, there are also risks with vitrectomy that should be taken into account.Like any surgery, vitrectomy has some risks. They include:
- torn or detached retina
- poor vision
- glaucoma (if pressure builds up in the eye)
During Vitrectomy Surgery
During surgery, the ophthalmologist removes vitreous from the middle of your eye. This vitreous is replaced with either a saline solution or a gas or oil bubble.
If a gas bubble was placed in your eye … You will need to keep your head in a face-down (or side-facing) position for a specific period of time. Your ophthalmologist will tell you exactly how long to stay in that position.
To heal properly, it is essential to follow those instructions. It is not possible to fly in a plane until the gas bubble is gone. Because a rapid change in altitude can affect the size of the bubble.