Retinal surgery is done for treatment of retinal detachment, epiretinal membrane, macular hole and diabetic retinopathy. A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vitreous gel that fills the eye cavity is removed to provide better access to the retina. This type of retinal surgery is done for the removal of scar tissue, laser repair of retinal detachments and treatment of macular holes.
WHEN TO CONSIDER EYE SURGERY
A vitrectomy may be advised as the only way to treat an epiretinal membrane, macular hole, diabetic retinopathy or a detached retina and prevent further vision loss.
WHAT DOES THIS SURGERY ENTAIL?
A vitrectomy is a common eye surgery. By making micro-incisions into the outer layer of the eye and through the white part of your eye, the vitreous gel is removed to provide better access to the retina.
A vitrectomy may be done for treatment of an epiretinal membrane. During this surgery, the epiretinal membrane is gently peeled from the retina.
If the vitrectomy is done for the treatment of a macular hole, a gas bubble is placed after the vitreous gel and membrane are removed.
For diabetic retinopathy, a vitrectomy may be done to remove blood from the vitreous and remove scar tissue pulling on the retina.
This eye surgery may also be done for retinal detachment. During surgery, the vitreous is removed to relieve pulling on the retina. The fluid under the retina is then drained, and the tear is sealed with a laser.
Once the surgery is complete, saline, a gas bubble or silicone oil may be used to replace the vitreous gel. These solutions are then injected into the vitreous cavity to help hold the retina in position.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WITH RECOVERY?
You may need to stay for observation in the hospital after surgery for a day or two before you can go home. You should get someone to take you home after surgery. At home, you will need to hold your head in a certain position to help keep the gas bubble in your eye in the correct place to support your retina. You can expect some discomfort for a few days, but your eye specialist will give you eye drops for the next few weeks as well as analgesic medication. Your vision may be impaired by the bubble for a few weeks, but this should clear once the bubble is absorbed.