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Vitrectomy

 

 

What is vitrectomy?

A vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery to treat various problems with the retina and vitreous. During the surgery, your surgeon removes the vitreous and replaces it with another solution. The vitreous is a gel-like substance that fills the middle portion of your eye.

The retina is a layer of cells at the back of your eye. These cells use light to send visual information to your brain. Normally, the vitreous should be clear, so light can pass through your eye and reach your retina.

Certain problems can cause blood and debris to block this light. Scar tissue in your vitreous can also displace or tear your retina. All of this can impair vision. Surgeons sometimes do vitrectomy for a detached retina. Removing the vitreous gives better access to your retina and decreases the tension on your retina.

During vitrectomy, your surgeon (an eye doctor called an ophthalmologist) uses small instruments to cut the vitreous and suction it out. Then your eye doctor does any other needed repairs, like repairing a hole in your retina. He or she may place air or other gas into your eye to help the retina stay in its proper position.

 

Why might I need a vitrectomy?

You might need a vitrectomy if you have one of the following eye problems:

All of these medical problems can cause vision loss. If not treated, some of them can even result in blindness. In some cases, vitrectomy can restore lost vision. You might need a vitrectomy done in an emergency — an eye injury, for example. In other cases, your eye doctor might schedule your vitrectomy in advance.

Vitrectomy may not be your only option if you have one of these medical problems, though. If you have diabetic retinopathy, for example, your eye doctor might recommend a procedure called laser photocoagulation instead.

If you have a detached retina, you might be able to have laser treatment or a procedure called pneumatic retinopexy. However, if you have a complicated retinal detachment, or if your eye condition has caused bleeding into your vitreous, you may be more likely to need a vitrectomy. Ask your eye doctor about the benefits and risks of all your treatment options.

Different types of Vitrectomies

Scleral Buckle surgery for a detached retina

Vitrectomy for retinal detachment

Pneumatic Retinopexy

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