Vitrectomy Surgery – How To Treat Vitreous Eye Floaters?

vitrectomy surgery

Generally, there is no treatment needed for vitreous eye floaters unless they start impairing the vision. A person can simply ignore the eye floaters by moving the eyes and by looking up and down. But, when they start impairing the vision, medical treatment is required. The treatment for vitreous floaters includes the two main options: laser treatment and vitrectomy. The eye doctor determines the appropriate treatment option keeping in view the conditions of an individual patient. The laser treatment involves breaking the floaters with the help of a special laser and a vitrectomy surgery involves a surgical procedure to remove the vitreous. 

In today’s article, we give a detailed overview of vitrectomy surgery that how it can be used to treat eye floaters, how the surgery is performed, and the results, recovery, risks of the procedure. 

What is a vitrectomy surgery?

Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which an eye surgeon removes the vitreous humor gel (jelly-like fluid) that fills the eye cavity and this allows the surgeon to have better access to the retina. At this point, the surgeon treats various problems such as removal of the scar tissue, repair of the retinal detachments and treat the macular holes. When these repairs are complete, the surgeon fills the vitreous with a saline solution (a gas bubble) or silicone oil so that it holds the position of the retina and maintains the shape of the eye.

vitrectomy surgery for floaters

What are the conditions to perform vitrectomy surgery?

There are numerous diseases that can cause the fluid in vitreous to cloud or fill with blood or fragments, scar, or harden. When this happens, the light can’t reach the retina properly, causing vision trouble. The problem can be solved or improved by removing and replacing the vitreous gel. 

At times, the retina pulls away from the tissue that surrounds it. In this case, the eye doctor could perform a vitrectomy eye surgery to get easy access to the retina and repair it.

With the help of vitrectomy, the doctor can also treat the macula – it lies in the middle of the retina and is responsible for sharp central vision. A hole in the macula can cause a blurry vision so after removing the vitreous fluid; it becomes easy to repair such macula.

Vitrectomy can also be used to treat some other problems that include:

  • Damaged blood vessels in the retina
  • Infections inside the eye
  • Serious eye injuries
  • Wrinkles in the retina

Sometimes, the eye surgeon can also suggest vitrectomy to treat certain problems that occur after having cataract surgery.

What to expect before surgery?

The ophthalmologist can tell the patient if there are any specific things that are needed for the preparation of the vitrectomy surgery for floaters. A patient can ask about these things:

  • Whether a patient can stay in the hospital after the eye floater surgery or go home on the same day?
  • Whether a patient needs to discontinue specific medications before the surgery?
  • Whether it is needed to avoid certain drinks or foods before the surgery, and if yes, then how long before?
  • What are the options for anesthesia?
  • How much time is needed for the surgery?

How is the surgery performed?

Vitrectomy eye surgery is performed under the local or the general anesthesia.

At first, the eye surgeon removes the vitreous gel that is blood-clouded, from the eye. After that, the surgeon cuts the vitreous tissue and removes the pieces one by one and then it is replaced with a specified salt solution so that the shape of the eye and pressure can be maintained properly.  The surgeon illuminates the inside of an eye to see it from a microscope.

If the retina is severely detached, the surgeon injects expandable gas into an eye while performing the vitrectomy eye surgery. This expanding gas bubble starts pushing against the retina so that it can re-attach. A patient needs to lie down on face for about 2-4 days so that the gas bubble dissolves.

During the eye floater surgery, the surgeon may also use a laser to perform photocoagulation through the retina’s surface. Photocoagulation helps in preventing the scar tissue formation, bleeding and the abnormal blood vessels growth in the future. 

vitrectomy eye surgery

What’s recovery like?

During the vitrectomy recovery, a patch is used to cover the eye and a patient can take away this patch at bedtime. Eye drops are also given to the patient so that the recovery process speeds up after the surgery.

During the vitrectomy recovery time, a patient may feel swelling and discomfort in the eye. This discomfort is due to the swelling that is outside of an eye but it can be relieved with the help of over-the-counter (OTC) medication and ice compress. A patient should call the doctor immediately when he/she feels deep or severe pain that is not comforted through OTC medication. 

What are the complications or risks of vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy surgeries are usually successful. Complications are very rare. The result depends on the condition of the eye of an individual patient and the work that is required to repair it. Still, there are some risks or complications with every surgical treatment. The possible risks of vitrectomy include:

  • Cataracts
  • Retinal detachment
  • Raised eye pressure
  • More vitreous bleeding
  • Infections
  • Difficulties while moving the eyes
  • Damage to the lens of the eye

A patient should call the doctor immediately in these situations:

  • The patient feels that his/her vision started to go away
  • There is severe swelling, pain or redness around the eye
  • There is discharge from the eye
  • Patient sees floaters or light flashes

All of these can be indications of some more serious problems that should be checked and treated by the doctor. 

retinal detachment

What are the results of vitrectomy?

The results of vitrectomy may vary due to some other procedures that are frequently performed along with this surgery. The results depend highly on a reason that a patient is having a vitrectomy – whether it is to remove the clouded vitreous fluid or excess blood vessels or scar tissue.

Vision is usually improved as a result of vitrectomy surgery. During a vitrectomy, the surgeons may also remove the scar tissue or the excess blood vessels. If scar tissue and blood vessels are causing the retinal detachment then their removal improves the vision when the retina moves back into its proper position. 

While the results of vitrectomy depend on various factors, the patient’s vision should start to improve in around one week.  


The team of highly skilled, experienced and American board-certified ophthalmologists and eye surgeons at Menger Eye Centers effectively performs the vitrectomy surgery in NYC while customizing it according to the condition of each patient. For more information or online consultation, visit the website and fill up the online form.

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