What to do after vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy is a complex and delicate operation, in which the back of the eyeball, called the vitreous cavity, is accessed. This surgery requires to be performed by an ophthalmologist surgeon specialized in retina.

Dr. Figueroa, an ophthalmologist expert in retina and Associate Editor of the Journal of Vitreoretinal Diseases of the American Society of Retina Specialists, explains how the postoperative period after vitrectomy develops.

The operation consists of microsurgery in which three entrances are made, which in many cases do not need to be sutured at the end of the operation, and instruments smaller than half a millimeter in size are used. In this space the retina can be manipulated with forceps, scissors, lasers and lights.

Treatment after vitrectomy

It is advisable to follow a treatment with anti-inflammatory drops, antibiotics and pupil dilators. Its duration will depend on the postoperative evolution and the decision of the physician treating the patient.

Postoperative positioning of the patient

When a vitrectomy is performed, a gas bubble or silicone oil may be used to help close the macular hole or seal a retinal tear due to retinal detachment. Head positioning is necessary to ensure that the bubble presses against the hole or tear so that it can be sealed.

On the occasions when the patient has undergone surgery for a retinal detachment, the surgeon often leaves intraocular gas. When this happens the patient is advised to maintain a specific posture after surgery, which is usually head down. Although this position can be different, it can also be recommended to be to one of the sides, it all depends on the surgical technique used and the location of the retinal tears.

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Other times, in retinal detachment surgery, silicone oil is left inside the eye cavity and the postoperative resting position is usually less prolonged. In cases where it is difficult for the patient to maintain a postoperative position or in more complex cases of retinal detachment is when silicone oil is usually left.

On the other hand, if the patient has undergone vitrectomy for a disease other than retinal detachment, intraocular serum is usually left in place, which does not require any specific postoperative positioning and recovery is more comfortable.