Vitrectomy is the surgical removal of the vitreous gel from the eye. It may be performed because removing the vitreous gel gives the doctor better access to the retina, or back of the eye. It may also be removed if blood in the vitreous gel (vitreous hemorrhage) does not clear on its own.
During a vitrectomy, the surgeon suctions out the vitreous gel. After removing the gel, the surgeon may treat the retina with a laser (photocoagulation), peel fibrous or scar tissue from the retina, flatten areas where the retina had become detached, or repair tears or holes in the retina. At the end of the surgery, silicone oil or a gas is injected into the eye to replace the vitreous gel and restore normal pressure in the eye.
Additional surgical steps involved as part of modern vitrectomy surgery many include: membranectomy, fluid/air exchange, air/gas exchange, photocoagulation and scleral buckling.
ARE ANY RISKS INVOLVED WITH VITRECTOMY SURGERY?
As with any surgical procedure, rare complications can occur, including, but not limited to:
- retinal detachment;
After surgery, cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens) may also develop sooner. Be sure to discuss potential complications with your ophthalmologist before surgery.
Scleral buckling surgery is a common way to treat retinal detachment. It is a method of closing breaks and flattening the retina. A scleral buckle is a piece of silicone sponge, rubber, or semi-hard plastic that is placed on the sclera, or outside white layer of the eye. The band is sewn to the eye to keep it in place. The element pushes in, or “buckles,” the sclera toward the middle of the eye. This buckling effect on the sclera relieves the pull on the retina, allowing the retinal tear to settle against the wall of the eye. The buckle may cover only the area behind the detachment, or it may encircles the eyeball like a ring.
By itself, the buckle does not prevent a retinal break from opening again. Usually extreme cold (cryopexy) or light (laser photocoagulation) is used to scar the retina and hold it in place until a seal forms between the retina and the layer beneath it. The seal holds the layers of the eye together and keeps fluid from getting between them. You may have some discomfort for a few days following surgery. Your eye may also be swollen, red, or tender.