Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure undertaken by a specialist where the vitreous humor gel that fills the eye cavity is removed to provide better access to the retina. This allows for a variety of repairs, including the removal of scar tissue, laser repair of retinal detachments and treatment of macular holes. Once surgery is complete, saline, a gas bubble or silicone oil may be injected into the vitreous gel to help hold the retina in position.
Posterior Pars Plana Vitrectomy: The vitreous or vitreous humor is thought to serve as a framework or support for the layers of a newborn’s eye during development. In normal eyes, the vitreous is crystal clear throughout adulthood and fills the eye from the front or anterior (iris-lens) to the back or posterior (optic nerve). This area comprises two-thirds of the volume of the eye and is called vitreous cavity, which along with the retina, the retinal pigment epithelium, choroid, and sclera, make up the posterior segment.
- Retinal hole or tear
- Retinal detachment
- Giant retinal tear
- Epiretinal membrane
- Macular hole
- Vitreomacular traction
- Macular edema
- Traction retinal detachment (Figure 3d and 3e)
- Proliferative vitreoretinopathy
A vitrectomy performed for diseases of the posterior segment is called a posterior or pars plana vitrectomy.
Anterior Vitrectomy: In rare cases, the vitreous gel comes through the pupil into the anterior (front) chamber of the eye. This can happen:
- Following eye trauma (injury)
- During complex cataract, cornea, or glaucoma surgery
- As a result of lens problems
Because leaking vitreous gel can lead to future problems, an anterior vitrectomy may be performed to minimize risk and to promote visual recovery.