Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure undertaken by a specialist where the vitreous gel that fills the eye cavity is removed. This is usually done to gain access to the retina and treat diseases which threaten vision. Common reasons to perform a vitrectomy include repair of a retinal detachment, management of macular diseases such as macular holes and epiretinal membranes, removal of dislocated lens implants and cataract fragments, and treatment of diabetic eye disease.
Vitrectomy surgery is minimally invasive surgery involving incisions as small as 0.5mm or less, usually without the need for sutures. Most surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. After surgery, the eye is generally comfortable and patched to protect from injury.
In some cases, a gas or silicone oil bubble may be used at the end of the operation to replace the vitreous gel. If gas is used, air travel, use of nitrous gas anaesthesia and ascending to high altitudes needs to be strictly avoided to reduce risk of elevated eye pressure. You may be asked to keep a posture after surgery which may involve lying down on one or the other cheek, or sit face down with the eye pointing towards the ground. This allows the gas or oil to push against a specific part of the retina. Maintaining head and eye positioning is a very important way to contribute to the success of your eye surgery.
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