Vitrectomy is the surgical removal of the vitreous gel from the middle of the eye. It may be done when there is a retinal detachment, since removing the vitreous gel gives the surgeon better access to the back of the eye. The vitreous gel may also be removed if blood in the vitreous gel (vitreous hemorrhage) does not clear on its own.

During a vitrectomy, small instruments are inserted into the eye and the vitreous gel is cut and suctioned out. After the vitreous gel has been removed, the surgeon may treat the retina with a laser (photocoagulation), cut or remove fibrous or scar tissue from the retina, flatten areas where the retina has become detached, or repair tears or holes in the retina or macula.


At the end of the surgery, silicone oil or a gas (perfluropropane) is injected into the eye to replace the vitreous gel and restore normal pressure in the eye.

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