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Vitreo-retinal surgery is typically performed to address a range of conditions and diseases that can affect the vitreous and retina.

What is Vitreo Retinal Surgery?

Vitreo-Retinal surgery treats diseases of the vitreous and retina that are amenable to surgical and other treatments. Half the number of patients requiring surgery present as emergency or urgent cases. Other potentially sight-threatening conditions which are treated by surgery include retinal tears, diabetic retinopathy, vitreous haemorrhage, macular hole and epiretinal membranes.

What is involved in the surgery?

Vitreo-Retinal surgery involves removing the vitreous gel (“jelly”) of the eye, using special instruments inserted through holes that are made in the white of the eye. Removing the vitreous gel from the eye means that it can no longer pull on the retina. Depending on the location of the problem the retina is pushed back in place with either a gas bubble or a heavy oily fluid and is made to stick down with laser or freezing treatment. The gas bubble remains in the eye for days to weeks, keeping the retina pressed into place. The gas gradually disappears, and is replaced by the natural fluid that the inside of the eye produces. If an oil is used this will be gently removed in another procedure, once the eye has healed.

The approach to surgery varies depending on the condition that is being treated. This will be fully discussed with you during your consultation.

What are the risks?

There is a risk of cataract formation or deterioration if present already, particularly in older people. The pressure in the eye may be temporarily increased, however this can be treated with drops. Serious bleeding into the eye, or infection, can occur and effect vision, but these complications are extremely rare.

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