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Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the vitreous gel from the middle of your eye. Vitreous gel (also called vitreous humour) is a thick, colourless, gel-like fluid that fills the large space in the middle of the eye, behind the lens. It helps the eyeball maintain its shape.
During surgery, the doctor used small tools to remove the vitreous gel. (After a while, the eye makes new fluid that fills in the space again.) Then the doctor may have treated eye problems, such as a retinal detachment, a vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding in the eye), scar tissue on the retina, or tears or holes in the macula, an important part of the retina. The retina is the layer of nerve tissue at the back of the eye.
At the end of the surgery, the doctor may have injected an oil or gas bubble into the eye. It lightly presses the retina against the wall of the eye. You will need to keep your head in a certain position for most of the day and night while the eye heals. If an oil bubble is used, you will need another surgery to remove the oil after the eye has healed.
After the surgery, your eye may be swollen, red, or tender for several weeks. You might have some pain in your eye and your vision may be blurry for a few days after the surgery. You will need 2 to 4 weeks to recover before you can do your normal activities again. It may take longer for your vision to get back to normal.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: January 24, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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