A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the vitreous in the central cavity of the eye so that
vision can be corrected. It is beneficial in many disease states including diabetic eye disease (diabetic
retinopathy), retinal detachments, macular holes, macular pucker and vitreous hemorrhage.
The vitrectomy procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Rarely, an overnight stay in
the hospital is required or suggested.
Local or general (while you are asleep) anesthesia may be used. The eye will be held opened using a
special speculum and the eye that is not being operated on will be covered.
The procedure begins with the surgeon making a small (less than 2mm) slit in the side of the eye and
inserting an infusion line to maintain constant eye pressure. Next, a microscopic cutting device is
inserted which will aspirate (suck out) the vitreous fluid.
A microscopic light source is also inserted to illuminate the inside of the eye through the procedure.
Additional instruments may also be used to perform additional maneuvers such as cauterizing blood
vessel leaks or removing scar tissue.
The surgeon will look through a microscope while performing the procedure. The surgeon may also use
special lenses to help see the anatomy of the eye. After the vitreous is removed, the surgeon will refill the
eye with a special saline solution that closely resembles the natural vitreous fluid in your eye. Tiny
absorbable stitches are used to close the three small openings and antibiotic injections to prevent
infection will be instilled at the end of the procedure.
Vitrectomies have been commonly performed and perfected for over 30 years. However, certain risks do
exist. They include:
Retinal detachment during or after the procedure is the most common risk. The surgeon is prepared for
this to happen and can repair the detachment by inserting gas that applies pressure on the retina, or by
inserting a scleral buckle (plastic around the eye).
The retinal detachment will heal during the normal vitrectomy healing time, which is between 4 to 6
weeks. If a cataract operation is necessary after the vitrectomy, add an additional 4-6 weeks to heal.
Normal restoration of vision, if possible, can take several weeks. Physical activity will be restricted during
this time to prevent complications. You may need to keep your head in a certain position.
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|Midwest Retina Associates, Inc.