The ophthalmologist will tell you what you need to do to prepare for vitrectomy surgery. This includes stopping any medicines before the procedure and not eating anything after the midnight in the case of general anaesthetic.
Before the operation, the ophthalmologist will perform an eye exam during which special drops may be used that will dilate your eye to make it easier to view the retina.
In general, patients will be awake during vitrectomy surgery and will be given medicine to help them relax. Anaesthetic eye drops or injections are used to ensure you won’t feel anything during the procedure. In other cases, you may receive a general anaesthetic to put you completely to sleep.
The ophthalmologist will first expose your eye and make an incision in the outer layer. This is followed by a small cut in the sclera—the white part of the eye—to gain access to the gel-like vitreous body, which is suctioned out to reveal the retina. A liquid or gas bubble is used to flatten the retina and fix it in place, the surgeon will then do any repairs needed to fix or re-attach the retina.
When the operation is completed, the vitreous is replaced with another fluid, usually silicone oil or saline solution, and stitches may be used to close surgical incisions but this is often not necessary. Eye drops with antibiotics are used to help prevent infection and your eye may be covered with a patch.
In most cases, patients will be able to return home on the same day as the procedure. It is advisable to arrange with someone to drive you back home after the surgery.
The ophthalmologist may prescribe you eye drops and antibiotics to prevent infection. If your eye feels sore, you may be given pain-killers as well. Patients may have to wear an eye patch for a day or two after surgery to assist recovery.
Your eye doctor will set a follow-up appointment to see whether the procedure was effective and monitor recovery. Make sure to inform your doctor if you notice decreasing vision, increasing pain or swelling.