What You Need to Know When Getting Vitrectomy in Singapore

Young woman on eyesight test

Eye diseases and traumas are sometimes unavoidable, whether we take good care of our eyes or not. The risk of causing damage to this vital part of our body is, of course, higher when we overlook giving them the proper care they need. One inevitable change that our eyes experience is wear and tear. As our body ages, so do our eyes. Our eyes also weaken as we grow old.

According to Dr Claudine Pang leading eye specialist (ophthalmologist) in Singapore from AsiaRetina an essential part of the eye that is usually prone to injuries or diseases is the Vitreous Humor. This translucent gel-like substance helps in maintaining the retina in its proper position and serves to protect the eyes. The vitreous humour fills the eye cavity next to the lens.

When the eye, specifically the retina, contracts a disease or an injury that needs an operation, the vitreous humour is usually drained in order to give way for the repairs to be done. This procedure is called a Vitrectomy.

Vitrectomy: What is it and how is it done?

Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure done to the eye. It involves the removal of the vitreous humour from the eyeball in order for the eye doctor to properly operate on the retina. There are two types of vitrectomy surgery: Posterior Pars Plana Vitrectomy and Anterior Vitrectomy.

Eye surgery

Vitrectomy surgery is done in the following steps:

  1. Prior to the operation, the medical team in charge of the surgery verifies that the individual they are about to operate on is the correct patient;
  2. Local or general anaesthesia is administered to the eye to numb its sensation and ease the patient’s discomfort throughout the procedure;
  3. The eye doctor then proceeds to dilate the eye;
  4. An antiseptic solution is used to prepare the eye;
  5. A sterile drape is applied next, followed by the attachment of the eyelid speculum to keep the eye open during the operation;
  6. The surgery then begins and the eye is sliced thinly (0.5 millimetres) through the pars plana;
  7. A special type of surgical microscope is then used to provide a detailed probe inside the eye;
  8. A vitrector and a suction tool are then used to cut and take out the vitreous humour from the eye.
  9. After doing the repair to the damaged portion of the eye, a liquid substitute (similar to the saline solution or silicon oil) is used to fill in the loss of the vitreous humour;
  10. An antibiotic is then applied to the eye to avoid any infection, after which the eye is covered with an eye patch to aid its recovery.

During the entire procedure, the eye that is not operated on is covered and allowed to rest.

Patients will need to take some extended time off in order to allow the operated eye to recuperate. At least 4 to 6 weeks is needed for recovery time for vitrectomy surgery. Any additional surgery done to the eye may require more time for healing.

In doubt whether you need a vitrectomy surgery or not? Here’s how to know if you need one.

Any surgery done to the eye undergoes a vitrectomy surgery first. This procedure enables the surgeon to access the back of the eyes with ease.

In addition, the following eye conditions need to undergo vitrectomy surgery:

  • Bleeding or swelling inside of the eye
  • Cataract surgery complications
  • Diabetic retinopathy complications, such as retinal damage
  • Eye floaters
  • Eye infections
  • Loose retina
  • Macular degeneration treatment
  • Presence of scar tissue in the retina
  • Swelling of the retina’s central tissue
  • Severe trauma or injury to the eye that can cause damage, such as a dislodged or misplaced intraocular lens

It is important to note that the need for a vitrectomy surgery is only determined basing on the severity of the eye’s condition that can negatively affect its ability to function properly or when there is already a threat of vision loss.

Risks and side effects following a vitrectomy surgery can happen.

Female trying to read something

Because of its invasive nature, any type of surgery is prone to risk and side effects following its completion. The risk of getting side effects is higher for patients who have been diagnosed with other eye conditions previously and also those who have a low immune system. These are the side effects that may happen after a vitrectomy surgery:

  • Altered, blurred, double, or loss of eye vision
  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Contracting of other eye diseases, such as cataract and glaucoma
  • Dislocation of the intraocular lens
  • Discolouration of the intraocular lens
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of night vision
  • Pain
  • Retinal detachment

Cost of vitrectomy surgery in Singapore.

On average, a vitrectomy surgery in Singapore costs around $4,000 to $5,000. This usually does not include doctor consultations and other medical fees. Patients with Medisave can save on costs as vitrectomy surgery is covered by this.