Vitreous retinal surgery is a quick and virtually painless strategy for addressing issues with the eye’s vitreous gel when the body doesn’t repair the damage on its own. The sooner a patient recognizes the signs of problems with the vitreous gel, the more likely they are to prevent irreversible vision loss — but more on that later.
At Eye Center of Texas, we believe that an informed patient is an empowered patient. It’s critical to understand how to spot vitreous damage and what options are available to repair the harm. If you believe that vitreous retinal surgery may be right for you, call 713-797-1010 to schedule an appointment with a specialist today.
What is vitreous in your eye?
The vitreous, also sometimes referred to as the vitreous humor or vitreous gel, is a gel-like structure made up of collagen. It’s located inside the eye and attaches to your retina through a series of fine fibers. In fact, it’s the vitreous that’s responsible for maintaining the eye’s shape and makes up about 80% of the organ’s total volume.
Because the vitreous is clear, it allows light to pass through the eye and to the retina and macula, allowing both structures to create images that travel through the optic nerve and to the brain. All of that to say, it is a very important part of your eye for your vision.
What are the symptoms of vitreous detachment?
As people grow older, the vitreous gel’s consistency starts growing increasingly more liquid. This can start happening as early as age 50, though for most people it begins around age 60. The vitreous’ gradual structural loss causes the fibers connecting the gel to the macula and retina to start pulling away.
Some of the major signs of vitreous detachment include the following:
- Floaters, or more floaters than normal
- Shadows in vision
- Reduced vision
- Flashes of light in peripheral vision
Vitreous detachment is diagnosed using pupil dilation, so patients will need rides to and from their diagnostic appointment to prevent accidents.
Please note that a degrading vitreous may also lead to conditions such as macular pucker, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, or retinal tears. Most instances of vitreous detachment actually resolve themselves on their own without surgical intervention, thus preventing escalating harm. However, in instances where the eye doesn’t repair itself, a procedure for retinal detachment, such as vitreous retinal surgery, may be required.
What is vitreoretinal surgery?
Vitreoretinal surgery, known less formally as vitreous retinal surgery, repairs instances of vitreous detachment in order to restore eyesight and prevent more serious eye disorders from occurring.
What vitreoretinal surgery entails
Patients undergoing vitreous retinal surgery must follow their surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions carefully. Failing to do so could cause complications in the healing process.
Vitreous retinal surgery is done as an outpatient procedure using localized anesthetic. It’s crucial to have a friend or family member drive you to and from the appointment, as you will be unable to drive immediately following the surgery.
The procedure itself involves making small incisions, which your doctor will use to make the specific repairs. Multiple factors determine how long your surgery will take, such as your age and how far your condition has progressed. Your surgeon should be able to give you a personalized overview of how your experience should go.
Who benefits from vitreoretinal surgery?
It would be easy and obvious to say that anyone who undergoes vitreoretinal surgery benefits from the procedure. And while it’s true, some patients are more likely to enjoy a significantly increased quality of life, usually those who were already at risk of even more severe eye issues.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following demographics:
- Diabetics (Keep reading: Diabetic retinopathy treatments)
- People with eye injuries
- People who recently underwent eye surgery
- People over the age of 60
- Nearsighted people
For these patients, vitreous retinal surgery serves almost as much as preventative care as it does repair.
Vitreoretinal surgery recovery
Retina surgery recovery varies based on the patient, but on average it takes around two to four weeks to fully recover. You will likely experience blurry vision for the first few days, and most patients get prescribed steroidal eye drops to help soothe the soreness.
In addition, your surgeon may recommend some over-the-counter pain meds for additional relief. Most patients will also need to come in for follow-up appointments to check on their healing process.
As with preoperative protocols, it’s always best to follow your doctor’s instructions on what to do following your surgery to make your recovery process go as smoothly as possible. This can include avoiding strenuous activity or exercise, avoiding soap, water, creams, or makeup from coming into contact with your eye, and so on.
Learn more about vitreoretinal surgery at Eye Center of Texas
Eye Center of Texas offers a wide array of procedures meant to restore eyesight including vitreous retinal surgery. If you need the opinion of a retina or macular degeneration specialist, our ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat a variety of eye conditions to improve your vision and quality of life.
Our qualified surgeons, Paul J. Stewart, M.D., specializes in vitreous retinal surgery alongside other retinal treatment options and can answer any questions you may have about your symptoms, the procedure, and aftercare instructions. Schedule an appointment with us online or call 713-797-1010 today for more information.