Vitrectomy surgery is usually performed in a day surgery centre under local anaesthetic. Some patients may require general anaesthesia. You will be discharged on the same day after an hour or so from the operation. If you live alone or came from a long distance you may elect to spend a night at the hospital.
Before surgery you will receive multiple eye drops to dilate your pupil. Our anaesthetist will give you some sedative medications in the vein to calm you and make you sleepy. We cover the other eye so you will not see us but you may hear our conversation.
The procedure is performed under an operating microscope and with special lenses to allow us to see the inside of the eye. After sterilising the eye, a speculum is used to keep the eye open. Three tiny self-sealing (no-stitch) incisions are made in the white of the eye (sclera) a few millimetres behind the cornea. An infusion line is used to maintain the eye pressure during surgery. A tiny light pipe is inserted to illuminate the inside of the eye. A special instrument called a vitrectomy probe is used to cut the vitreous and delicately remove it. Other instruments may be used depending on the case.
At the conclusion of surgery, the eye may be filled with saline, air, gas bubble or silicone oil depending on the indication for surgery. If gas is used, you cannot fly until it disappears. Silicone oil will need to be surgically removed a few weeks after surgery. Eventually the eye is filled with aqueous fluid which is the clear nourishing fluid usually present in the front of the eye.