What is Vitrectomy?
Dr. Shawn Agee and Dr. John Sullivan are board-certified Jacksonville, FL retina surgeons skilled to treat retinal detachments. The vitreous gel is located in the middle of the eye and is a gel-like fluid found between the lens and the retina. The fluid, also known as vitreous humor, is responsible for giving the eye its shape. In certain cases, there’s the need for a patient to have vitrectomy surgery, which surgically removes some of the fluid to alleviate various eye problems. When there’s a retinal detachment, some of the vitreous is removed to allow the ophthalmologist better access to the retina. In the case of a vitreous hemorrhage, blood and other particles get in the fluid, which causes “floaters” and can impair vision. Removing the fluid can help restore vision and repair eye problems for many patients.
What to Expect
Depending on your particular case, the vitrectomy can be performed either on an inpatient basis where you will need to spend the night or as an outpatient surgery. In addition, your doctor will determine whether you will require local or general anesthesia. After tiny incisions are made, your surgeon will use small instruments to cut the vitreous and suction it from the eye. Once the fluid is removed, your doctor can focus on the retina which may be treated with a laser to repair damage, flatten detached areas, or repair macular holes or tears in the central portion of the retina. At this time, your doctor can also cut away scarred tissue from the retina.
During the last stage of the surgery, your doctor will inject your eye with a gas or silicone oil bubble to cause the retina to lightly press against the eye wall. Since oil isn’t absorbed by the body, another procedure will be needed down the road to remove the oil from the eye. The entire vitrectomy takes about 2 to 3 hours.
For several weeks following surgery, you will need to use eye drops to help the eye’s surface heal fully. Patients may also have to be cognizant of their head and sleeping position. For example, when a gas bubble is inserted, the face may have to be kept down and the patient may have to sleep on a certain side. To remain face down, there is certain equipment that can be used during the recovery period. It takes a few weeks for the gas bubble to fully dissolve and certain activities, such as heavy lifting and flying on an airplane, should be avoided for several weeks after surgery.
For many patients, the surgery successfully improves visual acuity (sharpness) and can resolve vitreous hemorrhages and clear up the appearance of floaters.
Need More Information?
To treat a host of eye issues, our talented medical staff performs vitrectomies with outstanding results. Regardless of your condition, we would love to meet with you to discuss your case and help you achieve optimal results. Feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.