Retinal Detachment or Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove some or all of the vitreous humor from the eye. It is the preferred procedure when it comes to treating retinal detachment. Expert ophthalmologists offer this surgery as an option to alleviate the visual impediments provoked by retinal detachment in their clients.
The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is elevated or dragged from its normal position. If the condition isn’t treated quickly, it can actually cause permanent vision loss.
In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can also lead to retinal detachment.
There are three types of retinal detachment:
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment – A rhegmatogenous retinal detachment happens due to a hole, tear, or break in the retina that allows fluid to pass into the subretinal space between the sensory retina and the retinal pigment epithelium
Exudative, serous, or secondary retinal detachment – An this type of detachment happens due to inflammation, injury or vascular abnormalities that results in fluid accumulating underneath the retina without the presence of a hole, tear, or break.
Tractional retinal detachment – this type happens when fibrovascular tissue, caused by an injury, inflammation or neovascularization, pulls the sensory retina from the retinal pigment epithelium.
Retinal detachment is actually painless, but visual symptoms almost always appear before it occurs. The following are some of the warning signs of this disorder:
- Sudden flashes of light in one or both eyes
- Shadows or curtains over a portion of your visual field
- The sudden appearance of many floaters – small bits of debris in your field of vision that look like spots, hairs or strings and seem to float before your eyes
- Sudden blurs in your vision
By traveling to Costa Rica and contacting HCR, you can have this surgery performed by some of the best trained experts in eye surgery for incredibly economic prices.
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A vitrectomy not only treats retinal detachment, but it can also help greatly if you happen to suffer from any of the following disorders:
Vitreous floaters – deposits of various size, shape, consistency, refractive index, and motility within the eye’s normally transparent vitreous humour which can obstruct vision.
Macular pucker – formation of a patch of unhealthy tissue in the central retina (the macula) distorting vision.
Macular holes – the normal shrinking of the vitreous with aging can occasionally tear the central retina causing a macular hole with a blind spot blocking sight
Diabetic retinopathy – diabetic retinopathy may damage sight by forming unhealthy, freely bleeding blood vessels within the eye and/or causing thick scar tissue to grow on the retina, detaching it. Often diabetic retinopathy is treated in early stages with laser in the physician’s office to prevent these problems. When bleeding or retinal detachment occur, vitrectomy is employed to clear the blood.
Vitreous hemorrhage – bleeding in the eye from injuries, retinal tears, or blocked blood vessels. Once blood is removed, photocoagulation with a laser can shrink unhealthy blood vessels or seal retinal holes
A vitrectomy procedure is usually completed under general anesthesia, however, it can also be performed under local anesthesia in certain circumstances if the patient choses.
Your ophthalmologist creates three tiny incisions in the eye for the three separate instruments that he/she will use to perform the surgery. These incisions are made in the pars plana of the eye (is located just behind the iris but in front of the retina). The instruments which pass through these incisions include a light pipe, an infusion port and the vitrectomy cutting device. The light pipe is the equivalent of a microscopic high-intensity flashlight for use within the eye while the infusion port is required to replace fluid in the eye and maintain proper pressure within the eye. The cutting device (or vitrector), works like a tiny guillotine, with an oscillating microscopic cutter to remove the vitreous gel in a slow and controlled fashion. This prevents significant traction on the retina during the removal of the vitreous humor.
This whole process can take around 2 to 3 hours, depending on the extent of the treatment that is needed.
Post-Op -After Surgery
You can expect your vision to be blurred for several weeks after surgery. The long term visual outcome will be made evident until around 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery It is also natural for your eye to be sensitive, swollen and red subsequent to the procedure. It can take up to a couple of weeks for the inflammation and redness to subside.
You will be prescribed a combination of eye drops for you to apply at home. These will help to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and rest the eye following your surgery. Usually, you will need to apply them for 4 to 14 days depending on your original diagnosis.
Complications related to a vitrectomy procedure are elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP), especially in people who have glaucoma. There are several other serious, vision-threatening risks associated with this surgery. These can include:
. Further bleeding into the vitreous gel.
. Fluid buildup in the clear covering of the eye (corneal edema).
. Growth of new blood vessels on the surface of the iris (rubeosis iridis), which can eventually cause a form of severe glaucoma (neovascular glaucoma). This can lead to permanent eye pain or loss of the eye.
. Further retinal detachment.
In order to keep the risks at a bare minimum, please make sure that you follow your surgeons instructions at all times.