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What is Vitrectomy?


Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vitreous gel is removed. The goal of the surgery is improvement in patient's vision.

Normally, vitreous gel is transparent and thick viscous substance. It fills the interior part of the eyeball. The basic role of vitreous gel is to sustain the spherical shape of the eyes. In some eye conditions vitreous gel loses its transparency. The light cannot reach retina which consequently affects patient's vision.

Vitrectomy is performed in order to repair or prevent traction retinal detachment, to repair big tears in the retina and reduce loss of vision due to vitreous hemorrhage. It is also performed in diabetic patients who suffer from severe proliferative retinopathy.

Benefits of Vitrectomy

Diabetic patients can benefit most from this type of surgery. Namely, they are prone to diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which vitreous gel either get scarred or filled with blood.

Furthermore, patients who have had certain eye infections or injuries which have resulted in accumulation of debris inside vitreous gel can also improve their vision after vitrectomy. In these patients after the removal of vitreous gel the empty space is filled with a special type of silicone or gas.

In correction of retinal tears and retinal detachment vitreous gel is removed and after the retina has been fixed the space where vitreous gel used to be is filled with special fluid.

Vitrectomy Surgery Risks

This surgery carries many risks.

The first thing that can occur after the surgery is infection. The infection may affect retina, if this part of the eye has been operated, or the infection can originate from other parts of the eyeball. The infection can also start around the eyes and then spread onto the eyes. The infection is basically treated with antibiotics and it carries no additional complications.

One of the leading risks of vitrectomy is retinal detachment. This condition directly affects vision. It may withdraw spontaneously or is additionally treated by insertion of fluids into the vitreous cavity or with the assistance of laser surgery.

Vitrectomy may also lead to increased pressure inside the eye. Still this complication most commonly occurs in patients who are already suffering from glaucoma. In previously healthy patients if elevation in intraocular pressure occurs it withdraws after they are given glaucoma medicines.

Another risk of vitrectomy is corneal edema. This may additionally cause increased pressure on the eyes and blurred vision.

Intraocular bleeding is additional risk. This complication can cause serious damage to the eye.

And finally, in elderly patients the risk for cataract drastically increases after surgical removal of vitreous gel.

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