Vitrectomy is a treatment for floaters.
What does vitrectomy involve?
Vitrectomy involves the removal of part of the vitreous gel that is situated inside the eyeball next to the retina, and offers an excellent outcome for many patients.
Step 1: Your in-depth consultation
Following a detailed assessment, your Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon will discuss the best course of treatment for you. The consultant will be the same person who carries out your procedure and your checks at follow-up appointments.
Step 2: Before the vitrectomy procedure
Vitrectomy surgery is usually carried out under local anaesthetic to numb the eye and keep it still. If you are particularly anxious, you may be offered sedation. You will be awake during the operation and aware of some movement and contact, but the procedure will be painless.
Step 3: During vitrectomy surgery
The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed and a sterile cover placed over your eye and face, which will be lifted off your mouth so you can breathe and talk easily. Your eyelids will be gently held open, although they will feel closed.
You will see little of what is happening during the vitrectomy surgery, but we will explain what we are doing as the operation goes along and the theatre staff will help you relax. The operation usually takes about 45 minutes, but in some cases may take longer.
Three tiny incisions are made in the sclera (the white of the eye) to enable instruments to be passed into the vitreous. The first of these is a saline infusion (a “drip”) to replace fluid in the eye, maintaining the pressure and shape of the eye during surgery; the second is a fibre-optic light to illuminate inside the eye; and the third is for the operating instrument, starting with a vitrectomy device which enables safe removal of the vitreous gel.
The vitreous is replaced with a salt-water solution into which the eye secretes its natural aqueous fluid. Most patients will benefit from a “sutureless” technique, with self-sealing incision sites.
Step 4: Rest and recovery
Afterwards, you will be taken to our recovery suite to rest before returning home.
Step 5: Your aftercare
Following your vitrectomy surgery, your consultant will see you for a follow-up appointment to check on your progress, assess the results and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with an emergency contact number so that if you do experience any unexpected symptoms, you can contact us.
Vision usually improves quickly after vitrectomy surgery. Your consultant will provide guidance on when you can resume your normal daily activities.
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