What to Expect from Vitrectomy Recovery

By Gordon Wong, OD on August 22, 2019

Illustration of vitrectomy procedureThere are many retinal conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachment, that can cause the vitreous fluid within the eye to become scarred or clouded. When the vitreous fluid is no longer clear, a person’s vision will be compromised.

At Gordon Wong Eye Designs and Optometry, our doctors can perform a vitrectomy to restore vision. A vitrectomy removes and replaces damaged vitreous fluid. Replacing the vitreous fluid clears the retina so that it can focus light, which results in sharper vision. Here, our La Jolla, CA patients can learn about the typical vitrectomy recovery, including how long they should anticipate being out of work following treatment.

Vitrectomy Side Effects

Like any other surgical procedure, a vitrectomy will result in some side effects. During vitrectomy recovery, our La Jolla patients may experience:

  • Inflammation
  • Red eyes
  • Tenderness or sensitivity around the eyes
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Blurry vision

None of these side effects should be too severe, and most are manageable with a few helpful recovery tips. While it is normal to experience side effects following a vitrectomy, severe side effects or side effects that get worse over time may be a sign of complications, so they should be reported to Dr. Wong.

Recovery Tips

Dr. Wong wants each of our patients to have as smooth and easy a recovery as possible following the vitrectomy procedure. By following some helpful tips, patients should recover in a timely manner without any post-surgical complications.

  • Use over-the-counter pain medication to manage discomfort
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics as directed to minimize the risk of infection
  • Wear an eyepatch or shield as instructed (usually for a few days)
  • Apply cold compresses for 10 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day to reduce inflammation
  • Avoid strenuous activities, including bending and lifting
  • Rest as much as possible, but avoid laying on your back
  • Refrain from driving until vision has been restored

How Long Is Recovery?

Many vitrectomy side effects improve within the first week of recovery. However, redness and inflammation may last for several weeks. Although vision should gradually improve in the days following surgery, it can take many weeks for it to be completely restored.

While patients are recovering, their movements and activities will be restricted. If a gas bubble is used to replace the vitreous liquid, the patient may even be instructed to lay on their stomach for a certain amount of time so that the bubble doesn’t move and press against the lens of the eye. Dr. Wong will provide each of our La Jolla patients with specific instructions, but they can expect to maintain this position for between one and three weeks.

Because of activity restrictions, most patients need to take between two and three weeks off of work while they recover from a vitrectomy. Depending on the specifics of treatment, some patients are able to return to work sooner.

Learn More

When the vitreous liquid has become cloudy or scarred, a vitrectomy may be the best way to restore the vision. If you would like more information about this procedure, contact us at your earliest convenience or call Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry at (858) 454-4699.

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