Recovering After Vitrectomy: What Patients Can Expect

May 22, 2015 — by Dr. Parks
Tags: Vitrectomy Recovery Side Effects

An older woman smilingThe entire team here at Pacific Retina Specialists is committed to patient wellness. That's why we provide ample information about the risks, benefits, and proper after care following surgical retina treatments of various kinds. By giving patients this info, they can make good decisions about their eye health and total wellness.

With that in mind, we'd like to consider the vitrectomy and what patients can expect as they recover from this kind of procedure.

What is a vitrectomy?

A vitrectomy is a procedure in which the vitreous gel within the eyes is completely removed. With the gel removed, the eye surgeon is able to address any issues with the retina that may be present. To replace the vitreous gel, silicone oil and/or a gas bubble may be placed into the eye to help ensure proper healing of the treated retina.

Why vitrectomy may be performed?

The most common conditions that are treated using vitrectomy include:

  • Retinal detachment and tears
  • Retinal damage from diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular holes
  • Bleeding within the eye

It usually takes between 2 to 3 hours to perform a vitrectomy, and the procedure can be done using either local or general anesthetic.

What to Expect After a Vitrectomy Has Been Performed

Grogginess and discomfort immediately following surgery are normal as the effects of the anesthetic wear off. Patients will be asked to maintain a consistent position in order to keep the silicone oil or gas bubble in position and assist in the proper healing for the treated retina.

In some cases, patients may be asked to stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored.

Activities to Avoid After Vitrectomy

After undergoing a vitrectomy, patients will typically be asked to avoid the following activities:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Strenuous physical activities
  • Bending over or stooping
  • Lifting objects over 5 lbs in weight

Your eye specialist will let you know when you can resume these activities again.

Common Side Effects After Vitrectomy

The most common side effects after vitrectomy include minor swelling around the eye, general eye discomfort, occasional eye pain, and itchiness or scratchiness around the eye area. The pain can be addressed using medications as directed by your surgeon.

Serious Side Effects After Vitrectomy - Contact a Specialist

The following side effects are serious and potential complications. If you experience the following, it's of the utmost importance that you speak with your eye surgeon as soon as possible:

  • Loss of vision
  • Increases in eye pain, redness, or swelling
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Floaters or light flashes in your vision

Attend All Followup Visits as Scheduled

Following a vitrectomy, patients will undergo a number of followup visits with their eye surgeon. Be sure to attend all of these as scheduled so your overall healing progress can be properly monitored.

Learn More About Vitrectomy from Pacific Retina Specialists

For more information about vitrectomy and how it can address your eye condition and improve your overall eye health, be sure to contact our advanced retinal care center today. Dr. Parks and the entire team here at Pacific Retina Specialists looks forward to your visit and helping you make the best choices with regard to your overall eye health.

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