Vitrectomy surgery: What to expect and what are the risks?

Written by: Mr Danny Mitry
Edited by: Karolyn Judge

If you have retinal or vitreous problems, you may require vitrectomy, or vitreoretinal surgery, which is an operation that treats these issues.


Leading London ophthalmologist Mr Danny Mitry speaks to Top Doctors about what to expect and the risks of vitrectomy surgery in this informative article.

Eye that's undergone vitrectomy surgery

What is vitrectomy surgery?

Vitrectomy surgery is done as a day case, small gauge procedure, often with the patient awake.



What happens after the operation?

After the operation, the eye is usually red and sore, and the vision tends to be blurred for the first, at least, few days after the procedure.


The eye will feel as though there's a foreign body in the eye and there'll be a certain amount of light sensitivity.



How does the gas bubble used in the procedure affect my eye?

In vitrectomy surgery, we often use a gas bubble inside the eye. If there's a gas bubble inside the eye, the vision will be blurred for the duration that gas stays in your eye. This can be up to four, or sometimes six weeks.


The gas bubble will gradually disappear from the vision and your vision will recover.



Are there things I should avoid doing after undergoing vitrectomy surgery?

With the gas in your eye, you can't take air travel due to changes in pressure which are unsafe for the eye. Sometimes after vitreoretinal surgery, we'll ask you to posture or position yourself in a particular way for the first 48 to 72 hours after the operation depending on the reason for the surgery.



Do you get cataracts after vitrectomy?

Cataract, if you don't already have one, does tend to accelerate after vitrectomy surgery and many people who will go on to need cataract surgery in the first two years following a routine vitrectomy.



What are the risks of vitrectomy surgery?

During vitrectomy surgery, we enter into the back part of your eye behind your lens to remove the vitreous (the gel inside your eye) and undertake any treatment that's required to the retina itself. The risks of surgery are less and less nowadays, with modern techniques.


The chances of significant sight loss are commonly from:

  • an infection or;
  • a serious bleed behind the eye.

They both occur in less than in one in a thousand cases.


The chances of needing a second operation are approximately one per cent from a retinal detachment, or another unexpected occurrence.


The biggest risk that many people are aware of, is the development of cataract, which occurs in approximately 90 per cent of people following vitrectomy surgery. Oftentimes, the development of this cataract requires further operation to remove the cataract, at least one or two years following the original operation.




If you'd like to arrange a consultation with Mr Mitry to address any concerns you may have regarding vitrectomy surgery or other ophthalmic procedures, you can do so via his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Danny Mitry

Mr. Danny Mitry is a leading London consultant ophthalmic surgeon. He currently sees patients at, The London Clinic, BMI The Cavell Hospital, St John & St Elizabeth Hospital and the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in London. His clinical interests include laser treatment, microincision cataract surgery, medical and surgical retinal disease. Mr Mitry treats cataracts, dry eyes, trauma, retinal detachment, blepharitis, retinal vascular, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration.

Mr Danny Mitry has performed over 4,000 operations with an exceptional level of success and patient satisfaction. Mr Mitry graduated from medicine and surgery with honours from Trinity College Dublin in 2005. He began his clinical training at the Ear Hospital and Royal Victoria Eye in Dublin. Afterwards he moved to Scotland to complete a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Mr Mitry completed his higher surgical training in London and was appointed as a vitreoretinal fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital, there he became an expert at managing surgical retinal disease.

He's held several major research grants in support of his academic research, he's been an invited speaker at international ophthalmic conferences and has been awarded several research awards for his work. Mr Mitry continues to have an active role in surgical training of junior trainees. Mr Mitry has published over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts in leading international ophthalmology journals.

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