What is Vitrectomy Surgery?

Vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery that treats disorders of the retina and vitreous. The retina is the light-sensing tissue found lining the inside back part of the eye. The vitreous is the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the eye. Eye problems that may require vitrectomy surgery include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal detachment
  • Macular pucker
  • Macular hole 
  • Certain problems after cataract surgery
  • Infection inside the eye
  • Severe eye injury

Vitrectomy surgery removes the vitreous gel that fills the middle section of the eye. The vitreous gel may be removed to allow direct access to the retina to address any issues that may exist. After the retina has been appropriately treated, the space between the front and back of the eye must be filled. In many cases, it is filled with a gas bubble. Sometimes, silicone oil or a saline-type solution is inserted into the space.

What can you expect with vitrectomy surgery?

Vitrectomy surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation. This means that the patient is awake during the procedure but does not feel pain or see the procedure being performed. In some cases, general anesthesia may be used instead. The length of the operation varies from under one hour to several hours, depending on your eye condition. In some cases, the surgery may be combined with another surgical procedure at the same time – such as removing a cataract.

During recovery from vitrectomy surgery, it is critical that the patient maintain a consistent position that supports the gas bubble, silicone oil or saline solution during the healing process. Specific activities need to be avoided until follow up with our Doctors. These include any strenuous activities, alcohol consumption, smoking, lifting objects over five pounds and bending over. Several follow up visits may be scheduled after the surgery to observe the healing progress.

To learn more about vitrectomy surgery in Phoenix, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website

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