Vitreous is a gel-like fluid covering most of the eye’s interior. This fluid helps maintain the round shape of the eye. The vitreous gel is attached to the surface of the retina. For one to be able to see, light has to pass through the eye to reach the retina where it processes the photoreceptor cells (responsible for detecting color and light-intensity) and deliver that data to the brain through the optic nerve.
When the fluid in the vitreous gets filled with blood or debris, this causes the vitreous to be clouded. Furthermore, the vitreous hardens or scars. Due to this, light does not reach the retina properly, causing trouble in vision.
In such a case, the eye surgeon does the Vitrectomy procedure, where he replaces the vitreous gel to the saline solution. With the help of vitrectomy, as this removes the vitreous fluid, many other eye-related problems get treated, such as:
- Damaged bloodvessels in the retina
- Infections inside the eye
- Serious eye injuries
- Wrinkles in the retina
Vitrectomy surgeries involve the removal and replacement of some or all of the vitreous humor or fluid from the eye. The procedure is considered very successful and is often done as part of other eye surgeries.
The eye is anesthetized or numbed and dilated. The eye is then cleaned with an antiseptic solution and draped with a sterile covering. An eyelid speculum is used to keep the eye open, and a protective covering is placed over the eye not being operated on. The surgeon makes a small incision or cut, usually about the width of an eyelash or 0.5 millimeters, in the outer membrane of the eye and accesses the eye through the pars plana, a structure in the sclera or white part of the eye.
A microscope will be inserted, as well as a fiber-optic light to be able to see the eye. The surgeon uses a vitrector or vitrectomy probe to cut the vitreous gel, and a suction tool to remove broken down fluid. The surgeon fills the eye with a vitreous substitute similar to saline solution, silicon oil, or a gas or air bubble. An antibiotic ointment will be applied to the eye to prevent infection and the eye will be covered.
The vitrectomy procedure can vary from one hour to several hours. Subject to the patient’s condition.
Depending on the additional procedures involved, most people start to recover from vitrectomy surgeries after a few days, but a full recovery often takes several weeks.