Guide to Vitrectomy in Singapore: How is It Done & Recovery Time

Although the eye’s health is just as important as any part of the body’s, eye treatments are seldom talked about between family and friends when it comes to health issues. Usually, it shoots to the surface of discussed topics whenever someone close to us suddenly needs surgery to help improve or save the eye’s vision.

That probably is the reason why you landed on this page about Vitrectomy. It surely is challenging and worrying when we are faced with any kind of threat to our body’s health. To unburden you of worry, an expert eye doctor from Asia Retina worked with us through putting together this article to share information about Vitrectomy in Singapore.

What is Vitrectomy?

A type of surgery that is done to the eye, specifically to the vitreous or retina, is called a Vitrectomy. This procedure is performed by breaking down and removing the eye’s vitreous and replacing it with a substitute.

What are the parts of the eye that Vitrectomy can treat?

Vitrectomy can be used to treat eye conditions that affect the retina and the vitreous.

The retina is found at the back part of our eye. It is composed of a thin layer of tissue that works to convert the light it receives from the eye’s lens into neural signals that are sent to the brain to process and allow a person to recognize an image seen.

The vitreous is found in the eye’s interior that fills the room in between the retina and the lens. It is a substance that is gel-like and colourless in structure and works to give the eye its round shape.

What are the probable reasons why Vitrectomy is needed for the eye?

retinal detachment illustration

A Vitrectomy may be needed when the eye’s vision is obstructed due to conditions affecting either the retina or the vitreous. Because the retina and the vitreous work together closely, any problem that affects one also influences the other.

These are the problems or conditions that can require your eye to undergo a Vitrectomy:

  1. A hole, tear or wrinkle in the macula (centre part of the retina)
  2. Bleeding in the retina or vitreous
  3. Complications following cataract surgery
  4. Diabetic retinopathy
  5. Interior eye infections
  6. Macular degeneration
  7. Traumatic injury to the eye

When you notice any change that obstructs your vision or brings discomfort to your eye, it is critical that you have it assessed by an ophthalmologist immediately. Not being able to attend to it with urgency can lead to consequences that can result in vision loss or permanent blindness.

How is Vitrectomy surgery done?

vitrectomy surgery

A patient may choose whether to be awake or asleep during a Vitrectomy surgery. Not to worry, as there will be no pain felt in either of the choices. Anaesthetic eye drops and a relaxing medication will be given when you choose to stay awake during surgery. If the thought of being awake during your eye operation makes you feel uncomfortable, you can ask your doctor to use general anaesthesia to put you to sleep.

As soon as the anaesthesia kicks in and you no longer feel any sensation, your eye surgeon proceeds to carry out the operation. First, tiny incisions are done to the sclera (white part of the eye). The incisions are .5mm in measurement. These incisions will serve as entry points to 3 instruments used in the surgery:

  • Fibre optic light to illuminate the interior of the eye
  • Infusion pump, which holds the alternate substance to fill the vitreous
  • Vitrector used to cut and take away the vitreous jelly from the inside of the eye

The eye can have varying conditions that will need repair. During the Vitrectomy procedure, your doctor can apply treatments to fix abnormalities, bleeding, or any damage found in the retina or vitreous with cauterization or the use of a laser. After making necessary treatments, the surgery is completed by giving the eye a dose of an antibiotic ointment or drops for infection prevention and will be covered by an eye patch for protection.

Are there risks involved in a Vitrectomy procedure?

Your recovery following a Vitrectomy should be well if your surgery was done by a skilled and experienced eye doctor. However, risks can always take place and some may not be successful. In the event that the initial surgery fails, you will need to go through another surgery.

These are the risks that can happen with Vitrectomy:

  • Bleeding excessively
  • Damage to the lens
  • Feeling of pressure in the eye
  • Infection
  • High probability of developing cataracts
  • Retinal detachment caused by the surgery
  • Refractive error complications

What is expected during recovery after Vitrectomy?

What happens after a Vitrectomy differs from each patient and would depend on the repairs done to the eye. For patients that needed gas bubble to fix macular holes, they will be required to position their heads to face down for a certain time, from 3 to 7 days.

Redness and swelling of the eye following a Vitrectomy are normal. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops or ointment to help your eye recover and shrink during the healing period.

You can expect your eyes to reach full recovery from 4 to 6 weeks.

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