Published On: Mon, Oct 26th, 2020

Vitrectomy: these are the top common questions

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If you have diabetic retinopathy, a wrinkle in the central part of your retina or you began having problems after cataract surgery, you’ll probably want to know a bit more about a surgery called Vitrectomy. It is known that any of the previous medical problems that we mentioned, can cause vision loss. If you are experiencing this type of loss, having a vitrectomy can also help. Do you want to know more about it? These are the top questions that will help you decide.

What is Vitrectomy?

This term refers to a type of surgery destined to treat problems with the retina and vitreous. During the surgery, the doctor will remove the vitreous, which is a substance that fills a middle portion of the eye, and replace it with another substance.

This procedure is not a new type of medical intervention. The first vitrectomies were performed in the 1970s. Thanks to the research and development of new equipment for these kinds of surgeries, now it is widely accepted that doctors use smaller equipment.

During the vitrectomy, your ophthalmologist may remove an object that is affecting your retina, remove blood that is affecting the vision, remove scar tissue, or repair as much as possible a retina that has detached from the eyewall.

Eyecare and health concept. Portrait of curious and entertained young European woman sitting on a chair while eyecare specialist testing sight with a phoropter, asking if she can see clearly.

Who needs a vitrectomy surgery?

You may need this type of surgery if you have one of the following problems in your eyes:

  • Problems after cataract surgery
  • Vision loss after an eye surgery
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Infection in the eye
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Major trauma or injury in the eye
  • Swelling in the eye
  • Macular degeneration

A vitrectomy may not be the absolute solution to the previous problems, so your doctor may use this method to complement another surgery.

What happens in a Vitrectomy surgery?

This surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist. This is a doctor whose specialty is the eyes and all of the problems that can affect the vision. At the beginning of the surgery, the eye has to be numb. Local anesthesia is the most common form of doing it but general anesthesia is used in some cases.

Once the eye is numb, the doctor will make an incision in the sclera, which is the white part of the eye. After this first cut, the vitreous will be removed. In case there is some scar tissue or foreign material, these will be taken out too. Once anything that is hurting the eye is out, the doctor will now start to repair your retina with the help of a laser, if it is the case.

To finish the surgery, the vitreous will be replaced with saline or silicone oil. Afterward, the doctor will close the incisions and put some antibiotic ointment. This is done to prevent any infection in the eye. However, it is important to consult a doctor such as an ophthalmologist for a better diagnostic procedure.


  1. American Society of Retina Specialists
  2. John Hopkins Medicine
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology
  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology



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