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What is Vitrectomy?

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure performed on the eye to treat various conditions
affecting the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the back portion of the eye. It
involves the removal of some or all of the vitreous humor along with any tissue or
foreign matter present within it. The procedure is conducted by a retinal specialist and
is often performed using microsurgical techniques under anesthesia.

The first step of a vitrectomy involves creating small incisions in the eye through which
tiny instruments, including a vitrector, are inserted. A vitrector is a specialized tool that
uses microsuction and cutting mechanisms to delicately remove the vitreous gel and
any other material causing issues within the eye. The surgeon carefully navigates these
instruments to target the specific area of concern, such as repairing a retinal
detachment, removing scar tissue, treating diabetic retinopathy, clearing blood or debris
from the vitreous, or addressing macular holes.

During the procedure, the eye may be filled with a saline solution or a gas bubble to help
maintain its shape and provide clear visualization for the surgeon. In some cases, a
tamponade (a substance that acts as an internal bandage) may be injected into the eye
to hold the retina in place or support its healing process. The surgery typically lasts less
than one hour, depending on the complexity of the condition being treated.

Following a vitrectomy, patients may experience some discomfort, mild pain, or blurred
vision. The recovery period varies from person to person, but most individuals can
resume normal activities within a few days to a few weeks after the surgery. However,
it’s crucial to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon, which
include using prescribed eye drops, avoiding strenuous activities, and attending
follow-up appointments to monitor healing and ensure the best possible outcome.

As with any surgical procedure, vitrectomy carries some risks, such as infection,
bleeding, retinal tears, or elevated eye pressure. The decision to undergo a vitrectomy is
typically made after careful consideration of the potential benefits weighed against the
risks involved. Patients should discuss their specific condition, concerns, and
expectations with their surgeon to make an informed decision regarding the procedure.