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The vitreous is the clear, gel-like substance that makes up the center of the eye. It accounts for approximately two-thirds of the eye’s volume and helps maintain its shape. Due to its consistency, the vitreous can be affected by various diseases that may cause it to cloud, clump together, or even fill with blood. This can make it difficult for light to properly reach the retina. Problems can arise in how the vitreous interacts with the retina and may cause in blurred vision, retinal tears or detachments, or other serious conditions.
Patients with certain diseases may benefit from a micro-incisional vitrectomy. This procedure involves removing the vitreous by cutting and suctioning it out with tiny instruments that are inserted into the eye. Removal of the vitreous is necessary to allow for access to the retina. Your surgeon may then cut or peel away scar tissue, flatten areas of the retina that have detached, and repair holes or tears in the retina. Patients may experience mild discomfort and redness for several days after this procedure.
The vitreous that is removed does not return, but is replaced by fluid that is normally produced by the eye. Although the vitreous gel was important during the development of the eye in youth, it is not necessary as we age for eye health or clarity of vision.
Although results vary depending on the underlying retinal condition, many patients do experience improved visual acuity following this procedure. Vitrectomy is sometimes necessary when treating conditions such as macular holes, macular puckers, retinal detachments, diabetic retinopathy, vitreous hemorrhage, or an infection in the eye (endophthalmitis).
Although this procedure is quite safe, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks include retinal tears or detachment, fluid buildup, growth of new blood vessels, infection, and bleeding. Cataract formation is often accelerated in patients that have not previously had cataract surgery.