Vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery that treats disorder of the retina and vitreous.
The retina is the ligh-sensing tissue at the back of the eye. The vitreous is the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye.
The vitreous is removed during vitrectormy surgery and usually replaced by a saltwater solution.
Your ophthamologist may recommend vitrectomy surgery to treat the following eye problems:
- diabetic retinopathy, if bleeding and scar tissue is present
- retinal detachements
- infection of the inside of the eye
- severe eye injury
- macular pucker
- macular hole
- complication after cataract surgery
Vitrectomy surgery often improves or stabilzes vision. The operation removes any blood or debris that may be blocking or blurring light as it focuses on the retina.
Vitrectomy surgery removes scar tissue that can displace, wrinkle, or tear the retina. Vision is poor if the retina is not in its normal position.
This surgery can also remove a foreign object stuck inside the eye as a result of an injury. Most foreign objects will damage vision if they are not removed.
Your ophthamologist will decide whether local or general anesthesia is best for you. You may have to stay overnight in the hospital. Before surgery you will need to have a physical examination to alert your ophthamologist to any special medical risks.
A painless ultrasound test may be performed before surgery to view the inside of the eye.
The length of the operation varies form one to several hours, depending on your condition. In certain situations, your ophthamologist may do another surgical procedure at the same time, such as repairing a detached retina or removing a cataract.
Your ophthamologist performs the operation while looking into you eye with a microscope. Various miniature instruments are placed into the eye through tiny incisions in the sclera (white part of the eye).
In order to get the best possible vision for you, your ophthamologist will do one or more the following:
- remove all cloudy vitreous
- remove scar tissue in an attempt to return the retina to the normal position
- remove foreign debris
- treat the eye with a laser to reduce further bleeding or to fix a tear in the retina
- place an air or gas bubble in the eye to help the retina remain in its proper position (the bubble will slowly
disappear on its own)
- place silicone oil in the eye, which usually requires later surgical removal