Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove the vitreous gel that fills the hollow space inside the eye. Over time, changes start to occur in the vitreous structure that can cause a lot of eye problems that can cause simple nuisances to more serious eye problems that if left untreated, can cause irreversible blindness.
The reason for vitrectomy is done to relieve the symptoms caused by the different conditions concerning the vitreous in the eye and Dr Claudine Pang is one of the top retina specialists in Singapore. She is internationally recognized and has extensive training and practice on ophthalmology specifically on vitrectomy, cataract and retinal surgeries.
Read on to know the different eye conditions treated with vitrectomy as well as the steps during a vitrectomy procedure. Dr Claudine Pang also shares post-operative care pointers and foods and drinks to consume after vitrectomy in Singapore.
What eye conditions are treated with vitrectomy in Singapore?
- Retinal detachment
Vitreous can also pull on the retina and in this case, normal movement of the eye causes the gel to pull on the peripheral retina. If the pull is hard enough, it can create a retinal tear leading to retinal detachment. One of the most common reasons for undergoing vitrectomy in Singapore is for the treatment of retinal detachment.
- Eye Floaters
Floaters are a common problem where there are cloudy spots in your vision. These spots are the result of the liquefaction of the vitreous and clumping of the collagen fibers inside the eye. Eye floaters are very common and usually just go away on their own. Sometimes, the brain eventually adapts and gets used to them. However, in some cases, eye floaters can really affect a person’s quality of life and vitrectomy is required.
- Bleeding from diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can fill the eyes with blood. When blood mixes with the vitreous, it is very slow to clear and can block the vision. Blood in the vitreous can also pose a great challenge for treatment as the blood obscures the ability of the retina specialist to address the problem. Vitrectomy in Singapore is usually done to clear this haemorrhage.
- Macular hole
Vitrectomy can also treat patients with macular hole. When the vitreous pulls on the retina and if this happens in the central retina in the fovea (the light-sensitive area in the macula that provides clear vision), it can create a hole called a macular hole. Also, when the remnant of vitreous liquefaction contracts on one side of the fovea, it pulls on the fovea horizontally and creates a macular hole.
- Epiretinal membrane
When the vitreous pulls away from the retina, it leaves a remnant on the surface, and that remnant may form a sheet or membrane called epiretinal membrane which causes the retina to wrinkle. With the help of vitrectomy in Singapore, patients with epiretinal membranes can also be treated.
- Inflammation, eye injury or trauma and scar tissue
Having had cataract surgery, retinal reattachment procedure or injuries affecting the eyes can sometimes leave a bit of a trauma and inflammation to the eyes that can also cause the eye to be cloudy or even bleed. Another type of problem is the haemorrhage and formation of scar tissue that also involves the vitreous.
How is the vitrectomy surgery performed?
During her many years of being a top eye retinal surgeon, Dr Claudine Pang has performed thousands of successful vitrectomy surgeries. In brief, Dr Pang describes the steps during a vitrectomy procedure.
- Placement of an infusion cannula
After proper eye assessment and administration of anaesthesia, vitrectomy surgery starts with the placement of an infusion cannula which pumps saline into the eye to keep it inflated throughout the surgery.
- Insertion of a fibre optic probe
The next step is when the surgeon inserts a fibre optic probe which brings light into the eye to allow the surgeon to see what he/she is working on throughout the vitrectomy procedure.
- Removal of the vitreous gel
Then, the vitrector, the instrument used for vitrectomy takes little bites of the vitreous jelly and carefully sucks them out of the eye. With this procedure, the vitreous is gradually and safely being cleared out from the inside of the eye. For vitreous mixed with blood, the vitrector clears out the vitreous and the haemorrhage with it.
- Replacement of vitreous gel
Usually, saline works quite well in replacing the vitreous gel in the eye. In some cases, the vitreous gel is replaced with a gas bubble. Over time, eye fluids naturally replace this gas bubble. In select cases, silicone oil is used instead of gas and this usually requires a second surgery to remove the oil once healing has occurred.
- Vitrectomy is a sensitive surgery and requires delicate and proper care post-surgery.
- Usually, patients are advised to take a long break from work to allow ample time for healing.
- After the surgery, it as also advised that you have someone drive you home because you won’t be able to.
- To help with the recovery process, your doctor prescribe medications and you’ll be asked to stay in a facedown position.
- During this time, patients are advised to rest and avoid physical activities as well as looking into computer screens and bright lights.
- It is best that you have someone accompany and assist you during the recovery period as your eyes will not function properly.
Foods and drinks to consume after a vitrectomy in Singapore
- Small, light meals for the first 24 hours post-procedure.
For the first 24 hours after surgery, it is highly advisable to eat small, light meals to prevent nausea and vomiting that can adversely affect the eye. Chose foods that are easy to swallow and light on the stomach, such as:
- Protein shakes
- Steamed vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
- Liquid replacement meals
- Light sandwiches
- After the first 24 hours post-procedure
After the first 24 hours and when your body has rested, it is already safe to return to your normal diet. However, it is recommended that you stay on light meals as they are easier to consume while maintaining a certain facedown position and can prevent an upset stomach that can cause strain to the operated area in the eye.
Dr Claudine Pang
#15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd,
+65 6732 1741