Eye Diseases & Care

Vitrectomy: Surgery, Procedure and Care

Vitrectomy is a type of surgical treatment widely used to solve various alterations in which the retina and the vitreous are involved, that is, the clear gel that fills the entire ocular cavity and that is located behind the crystalline lens. At the same time, it has contact with the inner area of the retina. During this surgery, the specialist removes the substance known as vitreous, since in several opportunities it can wear out, becoming opaque and preventing the passage of light to the retina.

vitrectomy care

It is for all the above that the patient has difficulties to see correctly, so this option of surgery allows to recover the sight and, at the same time, the quality of life of the person who suffers the problems in the retina.

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What is vitrectomy and why is it used for?

Generally, this surgery option is applied in those people who have lost the transparency of the vitreous due to some pathology or alteration in it, however, this type of treatment can be used even when the vitreous is in good condition, since it is often essential to eliminate it in order to have access to the retina and be able to treat various ocular disorders in which it is involved.

In general terms, the vitrectomy is used to improve the patient’s health when it is affected by the oral cavity gel, as well as by various alterations that alter the retina and damage the correct vision of the people. Some of the pathologies that require this surgical treatment for improvement are:

  • The detachment of the retina.
  • Diabetic retinopathy.
  • Serious eye injuries or trauma.
  • Macular degeneration, neoformation of membranes, macular hole and other macular pathologies.
  • Consequence of a complication of cataract surgery.
  • Alterations related to pathological myopia.
  • Complications that derive from the disease known as uveitis.
  • Eye inflammations.

Possible consequences of vitrectomy

Vitrectomy is surgery performed on an outpatient basis, so it can last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the pathology and the severity of it, however, when the ophthalmologist needs to repair other tissues, the patient may receive local anesthesia with sedation, although everything will depend on the type of surgical process that is required.

Generally, the process begins with removing all the vitreous gel using various instruments that enter the eye through very small incisions in the sclera, the name by which the white part of the eyes is known. The way to continue will depend on the disorder to be treated, so that the retina can be re-applied using various elements and then the tears should be sealed by a laser to finally replace the vitreous by filling the ocular cavity with silicones that resemble the extracted gel.

Although it is a surgery with few risks and are considered very low, like all surgical treatment, these can happen, however, are much lower than the benefits obtained by vitrectomy. After this treatment, the possible risks that the patient could present are intraocular infections, retinal detachment, bleeding or an increase pressure in ocular, mainly, if the patient is of advanced age, so there is also the possibility that cataracts appear to these people.

In addition to being low the probability of suffering these risks; it can be reduced even more if you go to a specialized center, submitting to the process with a known and recommended ophthalmological surgeon.

After having performed the surgery, the patient begins to improve his sight some weeks later although, in some cases, the results can be observed a few months after the procedure. The improvement of the person’s vision will depend on the damage that each tissue had before the surgical process.

Care after a vitrectomy

After completing the vitrectomy, the professional will place a patch on the patient’s treated eye, which he himself can remove every night to sleep. Usually, it is only necessary that the eye be covered until the next day; however, this can vary depending on each case, so it is important to strictly follow the instructions of the professional. In this way, a greater and better recovery can be guaranteed, while at the same time helping to reduce the discomfort caused by the surgical treatment.

Also, it is possible to prescribe any ointment or drops for any discomfort that may be felt. You can also use cold packs in the area, since it is very common to appear inflammation after the intervention, so it is often advised to anti-inflammatory drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers.

If during the surgery the professional decides that it is necessary to use a gas bubble, the patient must remain the maximum amount of time upside down so that it is reabsorbed and disappears completely after a few days. To avoid any eye damage, in patients undergoing a vitrectomy who needed a gas bubble, it is important that the person does not travel by plane or be exposed to places with a height than 1000 meters.

Another care after vitrectomy is that you do not perform any kind of abrupt movement with your head, do high-intensity physical exercise, contact sports or lift heavy objects for at least a week.

It is advisable to see a doctor immediately if there are severe discomforts that do not calm down with medication or analgesics, you feel strong pain in a palpitating way in the eye and if bleeding appears postoperatively.