What to Expect After Vitrectomy (Post-Op)

The majority of vitrectomies are performed as outpatient procedures. In protecting the eye from harm, it is often patched and shielded. If a gas bubble or silicone oil was used to treat the eye, your surgeon will tell you how to do any required positions (such as lying face down) and for how long you should do so.

The gas bubble’s job is to force the retina back into place and keep it there until the eye recovers. Patients normally feel well and are ready to go home in an hour or less because only minimal sedation is used. However, hospitals and surgical centers do not believe it is safe to drive just after surgery, you will need a driver.

It is recommended that you have a driver accompany you to the doctor’s office the day following surgery until your vision has been restored to the point where you can drive yourself. Air travel, nitrous gas anesthesia, and ascending to higher altitudes should all be avoided if a gas bubble has been utilized to lessen the danger of excessive eye pressure. When you may resume these activities, your doctor will give you specific instructions.

what to expect after vitrectomy

Posture and Medications

Maintaining proper head and eye alignment following a vitrectomy with a gas bubble or silicone oil is critical for the outcome of your eye surgery. When traveling as a passenger, keep your eye or head turned in the direction indicated and always wear your seat belt.

Your doctor will go through instructions for medications, eyedrops, posture, wearing eye patches, and general activities at your first post-operative visit. You’ll also make arrangements for your subsequent follow-up consultations. It would be best not to drive until you are completely safe and capable of doing so; this can take a few days to several weeks after surgery.


Vitrectomy Recovery

Surprisingly, removing the vitreous and performing a vitrectomy has little influence on the health of the eye. The eye’s fluids gradually replace the saline solution or gas bubble (the aqueous humor).

If silicone oil is used as a vitreous substitute to assist more serious problems to heal, a second procedure to remove the silicone oil may be required several months after the surgery. Following the procedure, there may be some transient swelling of the eyelids, bruising around the eye, and redness, but these should go away fast.

After the surgery, you may experience a minor sensation as if something is in your eye, although serious pain is unlikely unless there is significant inflammation or high eye pressure. Medicated eye drops are essential to aid in the healing of the eye. 

The healthier the eye is before surgery, the more probable the eye will heal rapidly, and the eyesight will improve. For a few days after the treatment, some patients may notice a reduction in vision. Others may take weeks or months to enhance their vision, primarily if a gas bubble or silicone oil is used.

what to expect after vitrectomy

Safety and Results of Vitrectomy

Serious complications are uncommon, and anatomic success for vitrectomy is greater than 90% in many cases. Vitrectomy and retina surgery have become increasingly successful thanks to advancements in equipment, procedures, and understanding of the disorders of the vitreous and retina.

Previously incurable disorders, such as macular holes, are now regularly treated with remarkable results. The list of reasons for vitreous surgery keeps growing. The capacity to work directly on or near the retina has a lot of potential for the future, not only in terms of preventing vision loss but also in terms of restoring and improving our vision.

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