Majority of the people undergoing vitrectomy are the elderly ones, who are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy or detached retina. In the former case, the blood vessels in the retina is damaged; whereas in case of retinal detachment, the two retinal layers are separated from each other. Both these cases require immediate medical attention. If left untreated, they may worsen and cause loss of vision. Vitrectomy eye surgery is also recommended for people who have blood contamination in the vitreous gel. For understanding the recovery time and healing process, one first needs to know about the surgical procedure.
Vitrectomy is an eye surgery, conducted for removal of the vitreous humor (or vitreous gel), which fills up the space in the middle eye. Depending on the affected person's needs, the doctor may advice anterior vitrectomy or pars plana vitrectomy. During the 2-3 hours for procedure, the ophthalmologist cuts the vitreous gel by introducing a small device, after which the vitreous humor is suctioned out. After getting rid of the gel (partially or completely), the eye surgeon can have an easy access to the retina and correct the defects. Once treatment is done, the doctor fills up the middle eye space with silicone oil or gas-air mixture, so as to maintain the same normal pressure as it was exerted by the vitreous gel.
Recovery Time Explained
Following the procedure, the affected person is expected to stay for one night in the hospital. In some cases, it is conducted as an outpatient procedure and the candidate is discharged the same day. Similar to any other type of surgical procedure, there are certain complications, which may be observed immediately after surgery or a few days after the procedure. Probable conditions include redness, swelling, increased pain, eye floaters, blurred vision, and fluid discharge from the eye.
After the affected person is discharged from the hospital, an eye patch is placed over the operated eye, which he/she is permitted to remove during bedtime. He/she is expected to use eye drops at regular intervals to promote quick healing of the eye. In case, this sugery is conducted for retinal detachment treatment, the doctor places an expandable gas bubble inside the eye. To make sure that the gas bubble falls in a correct position, maintaining face orientation and sleeping position is directed by the concerned eye doctor. When proper eye care is followed, complete recovery is achieved within 6-8 weeks after surgery.
What You Should Be Doing?
During the healing time, the affected person would be instructed to follow certain self-care tips for quick healing process and to achieve proper vision correction. Swelling, heaviness, and general eye discomfort are usual symptoms within the next few days after the surgery.
- The candidate should continue using each and every type of prescribed eye drops for the recommended period, as directed by the doctor. They help in reducing swelling, inflammation, and more importantly, eye infection.
- In order to get relief from swelling and heavy feeling over the eyes, one can place ice compresses over the operated eye. Place some ice pieces in a clean towel and put over the affected eye for a few minutes.
- For increased pain symptoms, over-the-counter pain killers would work in relieving pain. However, it is best to inform the concerned doctor and ask for an appropriate pain-reliever medicine.
- To help remain in the face down position for the stipulated time, a face-down recovery equipment can be used. As per the affected person's condition, it may be used for consecutive five days after surgery.
- For those with slow recuperation, the doctor may recommend using the face-down recovery equipment for three weeks after surgery. Accordingly, the affected person can resume his/her normal activities after the said period.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.