Vitrectomy is a eye microsurgery technique which is carried out for treat pathologies related to the retina and vitreous and that if left untreated they could trigger a considerable loss of vision.

The objective of this technique is extract vitreous gel part for later replace it with a water solutiongas bubble o silicone oil.


Vitrectomy is a eye microsurgery technique which is carried out for treat pathologies related to the retina and vitreous and that if left untreated they could trigger a considerable loss of vision.

The objective of this technique is extract vitreous gel part for later replace it with a water solutiongas bubble o silicone oil.

What is vitrectomy?

Many people wonder exactly what vitrectomy is and what the intervention consists of. Well, vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery that It is used to treat diseases that affect the retina and vitreous.

Through precise surgery the specialist removes the vitreous. The vitreous is a clear gel, which fills the entire ocular cavity from behind the lens until it comes into contact with the inner part of the retina. The vitreous can occasionally deteriorate, opacify and block the passage of light to the retina.

This vitreous mood impairment has side effects that affect the patient's ability to see properly. Therefore, this operation becomes an option for restore sight and improve the quality of life of people with retinal problems.

When is it necessary to do a vitrectomy?

As we saw in the previous point when explaining what vitrectomy is, this intervention it is necessary to treat certain conditions of the retina and vitreous.

Specifically, this operation is recommended when the vitreous loses its transparency due to a particular disease or situation. However, vitrectomy is often chosen even when the vitreous is well, because it is necessary to remove it to access the retina and treat different eye diseases that affect her.


Vitrectomy is an intervention that improves the patient's vision because it eliminates the opaque or altered material that accumulates in the vitreous space. It also makes it possible to act directly on the retina to restore altered areas and thus improve vision, such as removing membranes, tractions, displacements or hemorrhages.

Diabetic retinopathy

La Diabetic retinopathy It is an ophthalmological complication caused by the deterioration of the blood vessels that nourish the retina in the back of the eye. If it is not treated on time, it can lead to blindness.

Myopia magna

Vitrectomy can be used when there are diseases related to myopia magna. Myopia magma, also known as degenerative myopia is a high myopia that occurs when there is a subsequent enlargement of the eyeball.

Inflammation or infections

In the case of finding some specific inflammations of the eye, such as endophthalmitis.


Vitrectomy is used after a complication derived from a picture of uveitis.

Retinal detachment

El retinal detachment It is a serious condition that must be treated as soon as possible. Vitrectomy is the solution when the retina separates from the back of the eye.

Macular diseases

In this case, these are macular diseases such as the neoformation of epiretinal membranes, macular degeneration or macular holes.

Cataract surgery

La cataract surgery It does not usually present problems but like any intervention, it can present complications. In certain cases these side effects need a vitrectomy so that they do not lead to major problems.

Eye trauma

In the event that the eye suffers some type of trauma or major injury, it is time to go to a professional and assess whether vitrectomy surgery is the necessary intervention to treat the specific injury.

Preoperative vitrectomy

Vitrectomy is an operation performed on the recommendation of an ophthalmologist. Therefore, once the specialist indicates that this is the appropriate treatment, the patient must undergo a series of tests to determine the correct way to face the intervention and the general state of health.

Habitually, to plan a vitrectomy we perform the following tests:

  • Un retinal scan.
  • A contrast test to determine if there are hemorrhages or damage to the blood vessels of the retina.
  • Un electrical stimulation test Of the eye.
  • A biometrics.
  • Blood test and a electrocardiogram to assess the general state of health of the patient.

If you suffer from a chronic illness or medical treatment is consumed, it is important to inform the specialist to determine if these conditions will have any impact on the operation.

How is the operation?

The vitrectomy operation is ambulatory and lasts between one and two hours, depending on the pathology suffered by the eye. Sometimes the ophthalmologist has to repair other tissues, such as removing a cataract. Normally the patient receives a local anesthetic with sedation.

During the intervention the ophthalmologist is looking at the eye through a surgical microscope. Various surgical instruments are placed inside the eye through small ones incisions in the sclera, in the white part of the eye.

The first thing that is done is remove all vitreous gel to directly access the retina. Once the intervention is over, the vitreous gel is replaced by salt solutions, gases o oils.

The vitreous is usually filled with polymers or silicones that resemble the vitreous. Sometimes it is introduced a gas that helps keep the retina in place. Also during the vitrectomy intervention, foreign tissues or bodies can be removed that are lodged after trauma inside the eye.


Risks of vitreous surgery

The surgery itself has no side effects but like any surgical intervention, vitrectomy has certain risks although they are considered low and much less than the benefits that this operation brings to the patient. After surgery, complications such as:

  • Intraocular infection.
  • Postoperative bleeding, which can occur in cases of diabetic vasculopathies.
  • Retinal detachment.
  • Increased eye pressure o cataract, especially in patients who are old.

To minimize these risks, it is basic perform the operation in a specialized center and from the hand of a recognized ophthalmic surgeon, as is the case with Área Oftalmológica Avanzada.

How long does it take to recover vision after a vitrectomy?

The greatest concern of patients who undergo this type of interventions is knowing when they will recover full vision. Many patients ask us the same questions before the intervention: How will I see after vitrectomy and when will I see correctly?

Visual improvement after vitrectomy occurs several weeks later or even after a few months. The visual acuity that the patient obtains will depend on the damage that the tissues have previously received, either due to the eye's own disease or due to the interventions that he or she has suffered before the vitreous surgery.

Care and postoperative vitrectomy

El postoperative vitrectomy It is very important for the success of the intervention. You have to keep in mind that after the operation a patch is placed in the eye that the patient can withdraw to sleep. Normally the eye should only be covered until the day after the operation. To ensure a better recovery and reduce discomfort after surgery, we usually give a drop or ointment treatment. Ocular inflammation is normal, so it is recommended to use cold packs to reduce it, as well as the consumption of Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers.

La body and head position after vitrectomy It is something to keep in mind because if a gas bubble has been placed inside the eye, the patient must remain upside down for a few days until the gas is reabsorbed and disappears.

Other postoperative care affects the increase in pressure. It is very important to remember that if a gas bubble has been used in the intervention, during the time indicated by the ophthalmologist you can't go by plane or to places with more than 1000 meters of height, since the atmospheric pressure decreases and this bubble can expand inside the eye and produce a rapid increase in eye pressure that can be harmful to the eye.

Additionally, during the seven days following the operation it is recommended avoid sudden movements with the head, the high intensity physical exercise and contact sports.

With these cares after a vitrectomy, there is no need to fear any complications. Anyway, It is recommended to consult the doctor urgently if:

  • Presents itself Intense pain It does not diminish with pain relievers or medication.
  • Yes it feels throbbing pain in the eye.
  • There postoperative bleeding or any other alarming symptom.


Does the vitrectomy leave sequelae?

La vitrectomy, like all surgeries, suggests some risks Although rare they can occur. Among the most common we find:

  • Sgraduated during the postoperative period.
  • Appearance of Cataracts.
  • Retinal detachment.
  • Increased intraocular pressure.

Current technological development allows us perform the vitrectomy very safely and with very predictable results.

Can you travel by plane after a vitrectomy?

Tras undergo a vitrectomy we do not recommend traveling by plane or being at high altitude, Especially if gas has been injected during vitrectomy.

El increased atmospheric pressure can expand the gas bubble and increase intraocular pressure.

If no gas has been injected, the patient will be able to travel by plane after a week of performing the intervention.

What anesthesia is used during a vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy is performed with Anesthesia local, whose effect lasts the time of the intervention, usually between one and two hours.

Once the surgery is finished the patient can go home no need to spend the night in the hospital.

Your Order
Vitrectomy: what is it, risks and postoperative
Article name
Vitrectomy: what is it, risks and postoperative
Vitrectomy is a surgery to treat diseases of the vitreous and the retina. We explain what vitrectomy consists of its risks and postoperative.
Name of the editor
Área Oftalmológica Avanzada
Editor's logo