A vitrectomy is the removal of the vitreous humour in the eye. The vitreous humour is the gel-like substance in the centre of the eye, between the retina and the lens. Several conditions require the removal of vitreous. Some of these common conditions include an injury to the eye, infection, a macular hole, vitreous bleeding and retinal detachment.
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Pain and Discomfort
Discomfort and pain is common for several days following a vitrectomy. Swelling of the outer portion of the eye and eyelid are normal. A scratching feeling or sharp pains in the eye are also common feelings after the surgery.
The eye appears reddened and swollen. While some redness and oedema is normal, look for an increase in either condition as well as a discharge coming from the eye. Monitor for a fever in the body. These signify an infection within the eye and reporting the symptoms immediately is crucial.
Medications and Treatments
Apply ice packs to the eye several times a day after a vitrectomy. The ice helps decrease oedema and provides pain relief. An over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, helps relieve the pain associated with the surgery. Avoid lifting objects more than 2.27kg., strenuous activity or bending over for a week after the procedure. Eliminate any activity that strains or places pressure on the eye. Sometimes, the physician prescribes an antibiotic ointment or drops for the eye.
Following the surgery, the surgeon places a bandage and eye shield over the eye. The bandage helps ensure the eyelid stays closed. After bandage removal, continue use of the plastic eye shield for showering and sleeping. The doctor will advise when to discontinue use of the eye shield.
After a week, the vision begins to improve in the affected eye. Before this time, the vision is quite blurry. Depending on the reason for the vitrectomy, the vision may have difficulties for up to a year after the surgery.
Risks and Complications
Although considered a routine procedure, vitrectomies have possible complications and risks associated with the surgery. Besides the risk of eye infection, a vitrectomy may be a decrease in vision or blindness. Depth perception loss, double vision and retinal wrinkling are also possible complications of the surgery.
Vitreous Humor Replacement
During the surgery, the doctor replaces the removed vitreous with a saline solution infusion. This allows the eye to retain its shape and size as well as preserve the correct pressure in the eye. Over time, the eye secretes fluids that create new vitreous.
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