Vitreoretinal surgery is required to fix many of the diseases of the retina, macula, and vitreous fluid of the eye. Eye diseases that may need surgical treatment include retinal detachments, epiretinal membranes, macular holes, vitreous floaters, and diabetic vitreous hemorrhages. Vitreoretinal surgery is a group of procedures performed inside the eye, or around the eye. If you are considering surgery, you must always consider the risks, benefits, and alternatives of surgery. While risks do exist for vitreoretinal surgery it is sometimes the best and only option for the patient.
The vitreoretinal surgeons at New Vision Eye Center have acquired specialized 2-year surgical training in utilizing cutting-edge surgical techniques to benefit our patients. Vitreoretinal surgeries are day surgeries that do not require hospitalization, and most patients require minimal time to recover. The vitreoretinal surgeons and staff at New Vision Eye Center will provide you with as much information as possible to help you, the patient, make an educated decision about surgery.
The retina is a thin layer of light-sensing neural tissue that lays flat against the back of the eye. This light-sensing tissue is responsible for capturing images that will be sent to the brain for interpretation. Since the retina is thin it can tear as the eye changes with age or after trauma. Sometimes, the way your eye is made can make the retina more likely to tear. If a hole or tear occurs in the retina the natural fluid in the center of the eye has a pathway to enter behind the retina causing the retina to be pushed away from the back of the eye. When the retinal tissue is pushed away from the back of the eye it has become detached. The detachment of the retina is often, but not always, preceded by flashes of lights, floating objects in your vision, blurry vision, and a gray-out or black-out progressing across your vision.
If you require surgery for retinal detachment, we can offer our patients four treatment options:
This procedure can be used if there is only a retinal tear and no detachment has occurred. The laser creates spot-welds around the tear preventing fluid from moving behind the attached retina and keeping it from detaching.
A Scleral buckle is a flexible band that is placed around the eye counteracting the forces that are causing the retina to be detached. This is a surgical procedure performed in the operating room.
The vitreous gel sometimes needs to be removed because it is pulling the retina away from the back of eye. Once this vitreous gel is removed the retina can lay flat in its natural position. Medical grade gas or silicone oil placed inside the eye helps the retina stay in place while it heals.
Pneumatic retinopexy is when a gas bubble is injected inside the eye. The gas bubble will be positioned over the retinal hole blocking fluid from going behind the retina. Sometimes, before the gas is placed inside the eye, a freezing probe is used to create adhesions of the retina to the back of the eye to help the retina stay in its natural position. It is also possible that laser can be used to create weld-spots at the sight of the tear to help the retina stay in place after the gas bubble has left the eye. The gas bubble does not need to be surgically removed. While the gas bubble is in the eye patients will be required to keep their heads in a certain position to assure that the gas bubble stays in the correct place to block the retinal hole. Patients must avoid significant altitude changes (i.e.: flying and scuba diving) while gas is inside the eye.
The retina is a thin layer of light-sensing neural tissue that lays flat against the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for the fine detailed central vision that you use most of the time, as opposed the peripheral retina that is used to notice objects in your side vision. In some people a scar tissue develops over the macula. This scar tissue is called an epiretinal membrane. The abnormal scar tissue can cause blurry vision and straight lines to appear bent or wavy. If your symptoms are mild, no treatment may be needed. If you have more severe symptoms that interfere with your daily routine, a vitrectomy surgery with removal of the abnormal scar tissue may be performed.
A macular hole is absent retinal tissue at the center of your vision. This type of disease can cause decreased vision making it difficult to read and accomplish tasks that require fine detail. A vitrectomy surgery with removal of the vitreous gel and insertion of a gas bubble may help the retinal tissue fill into the absent space improving vision.
A diabetic vitreous hemorrhage is when leaking blood vessels from uncontrolled systemic diabetes bleed into the center of the eye, called the vitreous cavity. This bleeding in the eye can cause a decrease in vision or multiple objects to appear in your vision. If the bleeding is severe enough and does not go away on its own then the blood may need to be removed by a vitrectomy surgery.
If surgery for retinal detachment is recommended, you should be aware that as with any surgical procedure, rare complications can occur, including infection, bleeding, recurrence of the epiretinal membrane, and earlier onset of cataracts. No two patients have the same needs and no single treatment is ideal for every condition. Our vitreoretinal surgeons and staff will work closely with you, detecting your specific vision problems, and tailoring your treatment plan to help ensure optimal vision.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, or need to schedule an eye exam, contact our World-Class Eye Care™ office today!