What Is Vitrectomy? | My iClinic
What Is Vitrectomy?

What Is Vitrectomy?

Vision Correction
Bola Odufuwa-Bolger|


Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the vitreous gel from the eye. This is often done to treat various eye conditions such as retinal detachment, macular holes, and vitreous haemorrhage. By removing the vitreous, the surgeon can access the retina and other structures to repair damage, improve vision, and prevent further complications. The procedure is typically performed under local or general anaesthesia and may require a short recovery period.

What Does Vitrectomy Look Like?


Picture a patient lying comfortably on an operating table, surrounded by a team of skilled medical professionals wearing surgical attire. The room is bright, with specialised equipment positioned around the patient.

The surgeon begins by making small incisions in the eye to access the vitreous gel. They then delicately insert tiny instruments, including a vitrectomy probe, into the eye. These instruments allow the surgeon to carefully remove the vitreous gel, which may appear as a clear, jelly-like substance.

Throughout the procedure, the surgeon peers through a microscope, closely monitoring their progress and ensuring precision. Meanwhile, the patient remains still, possibly under local or general anaesthesia, feeling little to no discomfort.

As the surgery progresses, the vitreous gel is gradually replaced with a saline solution or a gas bubble to support the eye's structure. Once the necessary repairs or treatments are completed, the surgeon meticulously closes the incisions, and the procedure concludes.

Overall, a vitrectomy is a complex yet highly controlled surgical procedure that demands expertise and precision to address various eye conditions and restore or preserve vision.

The Vitrectomy Journey

Our table provides a clear and organised layout of the diagnosis, structure of the operation, time frames, and recovery process associated with vitrectomy, giving you peace of mind for the journey ahead

Diagnosis Structure of the Operation Time Frames Recovery
Various eye conditions such as retinal detachment, macular holes, and vitreous hemorrhage
  • Patient lies on an operating table
  • Small incisions made in the eye
  • Insertion of tiny instruments including vitrectomy probe
  • Removal of vitreous gel
  • Replacement of vitreous with saline solution or gas bubble
  • Closure of incisions
  • Typically performed under local or general anesthesia
  • Duration of surgery varies depending on the complexity of the condition
  • Short recovery period
  • Post-operative care instructions provided by the surgeon
  • Vision may be blurry initially but improves over time
  • Follow-up appointments scheduled to monitor progress

Home Recovery

Average Home Recovery Time: My-iClinic can say that on average, the recovery time from vitrectomy surgery is approximately four weeks.

After a vitrectomy procedure, the home recovery period typically involves some rest and careful monitoring of symptoms. Patients are advised to follow post-operative instructions provided by our surgeon, which may include using prescribed eye drops, wearing an eye shield at night, and avoiding strenuous activities. It's normal to experience some discomfort, mild redness, or blurred vision initially, but these symptoms should gradually improve over the course of several days to weeks. However, patients should be vigilant for any signs of abnormality during their recovery, such as sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, increasing redness or swelling, persistent flashes of light, or a sudden increase in floaters. These could indicate potential complications such as infection, retinal detachment, or elevated intraocular pressure, and should be promptly reported to our surgeon for further evaluation and management.


Home Care

Following these home care considerations can help ensure a smooth recovery process and reduce the risk of complications after vitrectomy surgery. Always follow your surgeon's specific instructions and reach out to them with any concerns during your recovery.

Rest and Activity:

  • Ensure you get plenty of rest, especially in the first few days after surgery. Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting.
  • Avoid bending over, straining, or lifting heavy objects. Follow your doctor's recommendations regarding any specific activity restrictions.
  • If a gas bubble was used during the procedure, you may need to maintain a specific head position, such as face-down, as advised by your surgeon.


  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support healing.
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol and smoking, as these can impede the healing process.

Eye Care:

  • Use prescribed eye drops as directed to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
  • Wear an eye shield at night to protect the eye while you sleep.
  • Do not rub or apply pressure to the eye.

Managing Discomfort:

  • Take prescribed pain medications as needed. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used if recommended by your doctor.
  • Apply a clean, cold compress or ice pack to the area around the eye to reduce swelling and discomfort. Ensure the ice pack is wrapped in a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin.

Monitoring Symptoms:

  • Be vigilant for signs of complications, such as sudden vision loss, severe pain, increased redness, or discharge from the eye. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your eye doctor to monitor your recovery progress.

Additional Tips:

  • Refrain from swimming or using hot tubs until your doctor gives you the green light, as these activities can increase the risk of infection.
  • Limit screen time (computer, TV, phone) to reduce eye strain.
  • Protect your eyes from bright light and UV rays by wearing sunglasses when outdoors.

Home Emergency!

In the event of a home emergency after vitrectomy surgery, such as sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, increased redness or swelling, persistent flashes of light, or a sudden increase in floaters, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms could indicate serious complications like infection, retinal detachment, or elevated intraocular pressure. Contact your My-iClinic eye surgeon or visit the nearest emergency room promptly. Keep your surgeon's contact information handy, and do not hesitate to call for advice or assistance if you are unsure about the severity of your symptoms. Quick action is essential to address potential complications and protect your vision.

Choosing The Right Surgeon

When seeking a surgeon for vitrectomy, several key factors can help identify a trustworthy and skilled professional. Firstly, look for a board-certified ophthalmologist with specialised training in retinal surgery. Extensive experience in performing vitrectomies and positive patient outcomes are strong indicators of expertise. A good surgeon should have excellent credentials, including affiliations with reputable medical institutions and memberships in professional organisations. Patient reviews and testimonials can provide insights into their communication skills, bedside manner, and overall patient satisfaction. Additionally, a trusted surgeon will be transparent about the procedure, risks, and expected outcomes, and will take the time to answer all your questions thoroughly. Referrals from your primary care doctor or other medical professionals can also guide you to a reputable specialist. Ultimately, a good vitrectomy surgeon combines technical proficiency with compassionate patient care.

Find out more by Speaking to our team

0208 445 8877