Vitreo-Retinal surgery is a specialty of ophthalmology that can treat several eye diseases that can not be controlled with the medical treatment and laser treatments available, benefitting from specific surgical treatment.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy, vitreous haemorrhage, retinal detachment, macular holes, epiretinal membranes and ocular trauma are among these diseases.
When the retina detaches from the wall of the eyeball, its ability to gather light is impaired and the vision loses sharpness. In case of total detachment of the retina, the transmission of the images to the brain ceases and vision disappears.
Some retinal conditions may also be caused by tumors, inflammation or serious complications of diabetes. In these situations retinal breaks, generally do not occur and the appropriate treatment will make the retina return to its normal position.
The retinal breaks may occur without the person realizing their symptoms at first. In other cases, the patient may realize mobile flashes or black spots in the visual field, known as "floaters". However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean ruptures on the retina. They could be the result, for example, of the formation of small "fused" gelatin particles (vitreous). When the break occurs in the retina, leaking blood flows into the vitreous and may cause decreased vision. In cases of retinal detachment one will realize the distorted, wavy vision, or a shadow or dark curtain that closes the view. If the detachment reaches the central retina (macula), one will realize the reduction or distortion of central vision.
Breaks in the retina, which have not yet developed into a full detachment should be treated as soon as possible, with laser or cryotherapy to prevent the detachment occuring. These treatments create a kind of sealing scar that adheres the retina to the eyeball wall. Both cause little or no discomfort and can be performed in doctor’s clinic.
Most retinal detachments can be treated by surgical techniques designed to press the eye’s layers together, maintaining the tissue until healing occurs in the region. The technique will be chosen by the surgeon depending on the characteristics of the case and the damage occurred.
In more complex detachments a vitrectomy may be a needed. In this type of surgery, the vitreous is removed from the eyeball, and if there was a serious shrinkage or wrinkling in the retina and the back wall of the eyeball, the cavity of the globe is temporarily filled with a gas bubble or with implantation of silicone oil.