A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that is typically performed by an ophthalmologist who is a retina specialist. The purpose of a vitrectomy is to improve or stabilize your vision and to treat disorders of the retina and vitreous.
During a vitrectomy the vitreous gel is removed from the eye. There are two types of vitrectomies; anterior vitrectomy and pars plana vitrectomy. The anterior vitrectomy involves removing vitreous gel or vitreous humor through the front “anterior” structures of the eye. The pars plana vitrectomy involves removing vitreous gel through incisions that are further posterior in the eye.
Eye conditions that may require a vitrectomy:
- retinal detachments
- macular holes
- diabetic retinopathy (when there is bleeding and/or scar tissue)
- eye infection
- macular pucker (wrinkling of the retina)
- severe eye injury
- certain complications following cataract surgery
A vitrectomy is typically performed in a hospital or outpatient facility, using an operating microscope with the patient under local anesthesia. You will be awake but will not feel the pain while the procedure is being performed. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used.
Your doctor will insert small instruments into your eye through needle-size incisions in the eye wall in order to cut the vitreous gel and suction it out. In order to close a macular hole, or prevent or repair a retinal detachment, your eye may be filled with air, or a mixture of air and gas. This air and gas or fluid will be absorbed by your eye over a period of time and will be replaced by the naturally occurring clear aqueous fluid that your eye produces at all times.
Should you need a vitrectomy, your doctor will explain all the details involved in your specific procedure as each case is different and the procedure used in your case will vary depending on your diagnosis and other relevant factors.
Complications involved with a vitrectomy are rare, but could include blindness from infection, retinal detachment, and further bleeding into the vitreous gel. Cataracts can form after a vitrectomy and you may have travel or other restrictions.
If you have experienced a loss of vision, eye injury, eye infection, or any complication that may affect your eye health, please set up an appointment for an examination with one of our ophthalmologist today (954) 741-5555.