What is it?

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure for eyes to deal with vitreous gel and/or retinal disorders.

What is the process?

For each vitrectomy, the physician first inserts fine instruments and a light source into eye through three microscopically small incisions. Next, as much of the vitreous gel as possible is removed. The subsequent course of the procedure is determined by the nature of the disorder:

Vitrectomy for macular pucker

A vitrectomy for macular pucker involves the removal of the macular pucker tissue together with the inner layer of the retina The eye is then filled with air. This air will remain in place for approximately one week. The air is gradually replaced by the eye’s own fluids.

Vitrectomy for macular hole

A vitrectomy for macular hole involves the removal of the inner layer of the retina around the macular hole. Afterwards, the eye is filled with gas or oil. This choice is made by the eye surgeon during the operation. The gas remains in place for approximately three weeks. It is gradually replaced by the eye’s own fluids. The oil remains in place for approximately two to three months and must be removed surgically afterwards.

Vitrectomy for retinal detachment

For a vitrectomy for retinal detachment, the eye is filled with a special fluid to push the retina back into place. The physician uses a laser to fixate the retina in place. Afterwards, the eye is filled with gas or oil. This choice is made by the eye surgeon during the operation. The gas remains in place for approximately three weeks and is gradually replaced by the eye’s own fluids. The oil remains in place for approximately two to three months and must be removed surgically afterwards.

Vitrectomy for vitreous haemorrhage

For a vitrectomy for vitreous haemorrhage, the eye is filled with regular fluid, gas or oil, depending on the underlying cause and after placing the laser spots. This decision is taken by the physician during the operation.

Sometimes, a vitrectomy is combined with cataract surgery (unless you had this procedure at an earlier date). This involves the physician replacing the eye’s own lens with an artificial lens. Biometry is used beforehand to determine the power of the lens implant.

Centres and specialist areas

Eye Clinic

Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vanwynsberghe David