Your guide to Vitrectomy surgery.

What is Vitrectomy Surgery?

The vitreous, or clear gel substance filling the inside of the eye cavity, serves two primary purposes: to help the eyeball maintain its spherical shape and to provide pressure that keeps the retina in its proper position.

There are certain conditions that necessitate the removal of the vitreous, either because the vitreous itself is affected or because the retina needs to be repaired and removing the vitreous provides better access. The procedure to remove the vitreous is called vitrectomy.

As long as vitrectomy is performed by an eye doctor with the appropriate training in retina and vitreous problems, the procedure is usually very safe with great outcomes. The Eye Health Centre team includes ophthalmologists who completed fellowship training in the medical and surgical treatment of conditions affecting the retina and vitreous. We have performed many vitrectomy procedures and understand the keys to success.

When Is Vitrectomy Performed?

Your eye doctor may recommend a vitrectomy if you develop any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – when blood vessels in the retina leak and new, abnormal blood vessels form
  • Macular edema – swelling in the macula, or the part of the retina that controls central and detail vision
  • Uveitis – inflammation in the uvea, or middle layer of tissue in the eye
  • Retinal vein occlusion – an obstruction of the veins that carry blood away from the retina
  • Endophthalmitis – infection of the eye

Our doctors will consult with you about every aspect of vitrectomy and help you decide whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks. We will ensure you have all of the information you need to make an educated decision about your care.

Vitrectomy Surgery Details

Vitrectomy is usually performed as a day surgery. Anesthesia is used for your complete comfort. You should not feel any pain or remember anything from the procedure.

There are two different types of vitrectomy procedures.

A pars plana vitrectomy refers to a procedure to treat diseases of the posterior segment of the eye, which is made up of the retina, retinal pigment epithelium and choroid.

An anterior vitrectomy refers to a procedure to treat vitreous gel in the anterior segment of the eye, which is made up of the iris and the lens. This approach is most commonly used if the vitreous gets into the anterior chamber during cataract surgery.

After the vitreous has been removed from the eye, the doctor can make any necessary repairs. If the retina has developed a tear or hole, the doctor can seal off the opening. If the retina is displaced, the doctor can reposition it and secure it in place. Scar tissue and other foreign material that may be impairing vision can be removed.

The doctor then replaces the vitreous with a saline or silicone oil or a gas bubble. The surgical incisions may be closed with stitches or they may be designed to be “self-sealing.”

Vitrectomy Recovery

Depending on the individual circumstances of the case, you may be asked to take special precautions after vitrectomy, such as avoiding air travel and/or maintaining a face-down position for a specific period of time. Our team will give you complete post-operative instructions and answer any questions you have about the recovery process. We will also follow up with you after the procedure to monitor your eye condition and make sure you heal optimally.

Do you have a question or concern about your eye health? To discuss your condition with an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist, please contact The Eye Health Centre