Vitrectomy Surgery

Vitrectomy is surgery to remove the vitreous humor from the eye. It is a general term for a group of operations accomplished in the deeper part of the eye, all of which involve removing some or all of the vitreous humor — the eye's clear internal jelly. Retina Consultants of Orange County routinely performs vitrectomy surgery to restore the vision of patients. This routine procedure is safe and effective, providing solution to several common vision problems.

Vitrectomy Surgery Q & A

What is the vitreous?

The center of the eye is made up of a clear, gel-like substance known as the vitreous. The vitreous helps the eye maintain its shape. The gel contains thousands of fibers that attach to the retina.

What is vitrectomy surgery?

Vitrectomy surgery involves removing the vitreous and replacing it with saline, gas, or silicone oil. To do this, doctors use small instruments to cut and remove the vitreous while viewing the eye under an operating microscope. This is a procedure that's been done for around 40 years. It's considered quite routine and is performed nearly every day at Retina Consultants of Orange County. Vitrectomy is performed under IV sedation for most patients. The eye's numbed before the procedure to keep the patient comfortable, and then it's held open using an eyelid speculum. After dilating the eye, the surgeon will enter through a safe part of the white of the eye, using a surgical microscope to guide the procedure and remove the vitreous. Then the eye is filled with saline, a gas bubble, or silicone oil. Over time after the procedure, the eye will fill the space with natural fluid, gradually replacing the oil, gas, or saline.

When is vitrectomy necessary?

Vitrectomy is used to treat a number of conditions. It's commonly used when the vitreous become clouded, due to conditions like bleeding, trauma, or diabetes. It's also necessary when the vitreous causes additional problems like retinal tears, macular holes, or macular puckers. These conditions develop when the vitreous fibers pull too hard on the retina and cause damage.

Is vitrectomy safe?

Vitrectomy is a safe and proven surgical treatment for a number of eye conditions. Like all surgeries, it does carry some risk, including the risk of infection, bleeding, eye pressure problems, cataracts, loss of vision, or retinal detachment. However, these complications are rare.

What follow up is needed after vitrectomy?

The doctors at Retina Consultants of Orange County will follow up with patients to ensure the eye is functioning properly after vitrectomy. For patients who have a gas bubble or silicone oil, staying in a facedown position for a period of time may be necessary. The procedure is typically an outpatient procedure, and patients leave the same day with their eye patched and shielded while it heals. Maintaining head and eye positioning after this surgery is essential to success. Patients won't be able to raise their heads for several days or weeks after surgery. For more information about the restrictions after surgery, contact the Retinal Consultants of Orange County.