Why undergo a vitrectomy?
The vitrectomy is an intraocular surgery in which the vitreous is removed. It is done well because it is opacified (for example, by a hemorrhage), either to take samples of it and analyze them (as for example, in case of infections, inflammations or intraocular tumors), as well as to allow access to the retina and intervene surgically on her.
It is usually done by entering the eye in three small ways. One of them introduces the instrument that allows us to eliminate the vitreous, and that we know as vitreotome or vitrectome; on the other, a light probe to visualize the inside of the eye; and for the third, a continuous infusion of serum.
Applications of vitrectomy
Vitrectomy is applied in very varied pathologies; the most frequent are:
- The presence of blood inside the eye, frequent in diabetics and other vascular diseases, in trauma or retinal tears.
- Retinal detachments. In this case it is usually associated with intraocular injection of some type of gas or silicone oil.
- Treatments of some pathologies of the macula, such as epimacular membranes, macular holes or tractions on the macula.
- Intraocular infections, to eliminate the vitreous, cultivate it and facilitate the diffusion of antibiotics within the eye.
- In case of complications of cataract surgery, such as dislocation of the cataract or intraocular lens inside the eye.
- To treat some vascular abnormalities of the retina.
- To eliminate vitreous opacities that could seriously impede vision.
- To take vitreous or retinal samples in case of intraocular tumors.
Risks of vitrectomy
There are certain risks, common to all eye surgeries, which if they occur can be very serious. For example, intraocular infections, very serious intraocular hemorrhages and difficult to control, significant increases or decreases in intraocular tension, etc … Although these complications are very rare.
Among the most frequent complications is the subsequent formation of a cataract, especially in people over 50 years. So much so, that in these patients ophthalmologists already warned in advance that although the surgery is satisfactory it is common that in a few months or a year the cataract should be operated.
Another complication that may appear is a retinal detachment in the postoperative period. However, each time this complication is less frequent since the surgical technique has improved in recent times; the incisions through which we enter the eye are getting smaller and the surgery time has significantly shortened compared to a few years ago.
In general, we achieved a satisfactory and uncomplicated surgical result in 90-95% of cases.
Recovery after vitrectomy
Since vitrectomy surgery is used in very different pathologies, the time to recover the vision again and the amount of vision that is recovered varies greatly depending on the original cause that makes the vitrectomy.
In general, and if we forget about very serious and infrequent pathologies (such as intraocular infections or intraocular tumors, in which vision can seriously affect), we could say that when we treat macular pathologies, vision usually recovers. quickly, and when we treat retinal detachments it depends on the type of gas or silicone oil we use. We use a type of intraocular gas that takes 3 to 4 weeks to disappear, another type of gas that is usually removed between six and eight weeks and, finally, if we use silicone oil we would have to think about intervening again to get it out of the eye about months after the first operation.