Eye vitrectomy surgery

I had a Dr appt with my ophthalmologist last week. I see him every 3 - 6 months. Each visit, my eye vision seems to decrease, to me, pretty substantially. He said I will need to have the membrane removed (vitrectomy), and also the lens replaced via cataract surgery, so 2 surgeries scheduled at the same time in the same eye. He told me I will probably need this done within a year in my bad eye, and probably within a few years in my good, 20/20 right eye. He said if my vision gets substantially worse before my next appt in 6 months, I should call him to schedule the procedure earlier. But he always tells me to call him rather than wait for my next appt if I have an issue! How do I really know if I need to schedule the appt earlier or not! My left eye vision has rapidly decreased over the past year, going from 20/20 to 20/50 at the latest exam. Is it typical to delay the vitrectomy as long as possible, and if so, am I adding to the potential damage to the macula? Any help is appreciated in helping me to understand my condition!


I had retinal detachment surgery including vitrectomy in Palo Alto, CA. Fancy Stanford MD my ass. Sucked! Dumbass surgeon did it on outpatient. Plus, he didnt explain the durgery beforehand nor mention loss of vitreous. After the surgery, I puked for 15 miles on the way home. Complete ■■■■.

The vision i regained was awful. For maybe 2 weeks it lasted. I had a silicone bubble that bobbled around and made it terribly difficult to walk or be around a light source. The bubble caught the light and twizzled around.

Eventually, the eye would blind from the bubble causing scarring. Then, a year after losing my vision in the left eye my cousin rings. She let me know her husband just had retinal detachment surgery. Except he had it done in Texas thru the VA. They removed and reinstalled the vitreous. No bubbles. Instead, they used a freezing agent to fix the damage. Its been nearly 20 years and the man still has good vision in both eyes.

I wouldn’t do the same if i could do it again. The MD doesnt replenish your vitreous. So, you wont have normal vision again if they take it out. Another thing is my effected eye is maybe 1/2 the size it used to be. I’m already self conscious. So, that eye looks like a damn deformity. My advice is look for another eye specialist. Look into specialists who will replinesh the vitreous. Also, fancy medical schools don’t mean jack.

I hope this helps…


I am sorry to hear about this @Trying. I don’t have any useful advice to offer, I don’t know anything about this surgery. :frowning_face:

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@James thank you so much for sharing your experience, though I’m so sorry the outcome was so awful. My Dr also does not explain well, at least not to my liking. He didn’t mention anything about removing or replacing the vitreous, actualy didn’t describe the procedure at all. This is why I am worried. I will definitely ask about the possibility of using the freezing method.

I also worry why my Dr is fine with delaying the procedure. It does effect my vision, but maybe he thinks because it is a risky procedure it is better just to monitor it to see if it stabilizes😏


You might be on the right track there, though I don’t know that cataracts stabilize. There’s no value in waiting to do the vitrectomy to clear out the vitreous, but some surgeons wait to remove cataracts until they noticeably interfere with your vision. A lot of people walk around with cataracts and for a long time have only minor vision disturbance, like hazy auras in bright light, so doctors say vague things like “You’ll know when it’s time.” Also I think in the States some insurance companies will only cover cataract surgery once cataracts interfere with day-to-day life. Given that there’s no need to wait for the vitrectomy, but there may be good reason to wait for the cataract surgery, and ideally they’re done at the same time, the waiting makes sense. But confirm that with your surgeon.

Too bad he didn’t explain things well, but there’s tons of good info online. Both surgeries are considered routine these days and in the majority of cases (but not always, as @James and I can attest) have great outcomes

@James, can you expand on this? A vitrectomy replaces the vitreous gel by definition, usually with saline but sometimes silicone oil. The advantage of the oil is that you won’t have to hold your head in the same position to keep the bubble in place while you recover from surgery, but it isn’t permanent and you’ll usually need another vitrectomy to replace it with saline. (I’ve had both kinds.)

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You may want to get appointment with retinal specialist for a second opinion.

I have had laser and vitrectomy in both eyes, but stable now for past 20 years.

My surgeon didn’t refill my vitreous fluid after removing the og fluid. Hence, why the eye shrank.

However, this is why you’d want to research eye specialists who will reapply the fluid.

If the doc won’t provide a detailed explanation of the surgery plan be cautious about things.

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Yes, that’s about what my Dr says! I just know it is getting worse, but I can still work and see the computer screen, still run trails and see the beautiful nature along the trails, just nothing as clearly as I could as little as a year ago. I don’t know if this decrease in vision is caused by cataracts or the ERM, but maybe it is ERM since I don’t have hazy auras in bright light. It is a constant degradation of almost like double vision. Eye drops seem to help a tiny bit. Yes, my Dr does say that both surgeries should be done at the same time.

My Dr is a retinal specialist at Columbia University. I have thought of getting a second opinion but I’ve been seeing him for a number of years. He helped me through some dangerous bleeding a few years back, with Eylea eye injections which resolved that problem. He definitely knows his field but doesn’t explain very well, almost like he doesn’t want to give me too much information because he thinks it will scare me. That’s my impression but I could be wrong,

It is very encouraging to know that your eyes are stable after undergoing both laser and vitrectomy surgeries. I’m very glad for you.

I will definitely be asking my Dr detailed questions on reapplying the vitreous fluid before I agree to a surgery! Thank you so much for pointing this out as I would not have known to ask otherwise.

My next appt isn’t 'til December unless I ask for an earlier appt. I’m hoping I won’t have any major degradation before then. I’d like to enjoy the summer months being active outdoors esp as it sounds like the surgery could require an unknown amount of time with restrictive activity.

When I got my first major eye bleed, it was when I had signed up for a exercise class. Lots of jumping, running laps, etc. That may have triggered my first bleed and laser treatments. But probably happened anyway. Was back in 1980s, no pump or cgm, or good doctors. (because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.)


@Trying My policy, after my experience with my kidney stone surgery, is to to ask for/demand a complete review of any procedure, the meds used during and after, and reasons to/not to use things affecting my BG and why. I’ve always read that surgeons just like to “cut and walk away,” hasn’t been my past experience, but more recently it’s been on target.

Thanks to all for sharing your experiences, I’m told I’ll need cataract surgery eventually from the look of things. The descriptions of what and how may prove useful in discussions regarding any prospective surgery.

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Yikes! My eye Dr is actually the Dr who told me I should not be running! I didn’t know why he said that though. I already had the eye bleeds by then and thanks to the Eylea, they healed.

Yes, even though you thoroughly prepared, the night nurse dropped the ball. Your notes on your experience are very helpful and I will be sure to ask/demand a complete review of the procedure.

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@Trying et al My apologies for including “demand” above. I can be a blunt person, sometimes perceived as “in your face,” in discussions; probably over the top here, bordering on interfering with the needed doctor/patient relationship we all need/hope for. My intent: We need to be insistent on informing doctors about the impacts and risks we T1/T2 patients present, discuss the treatments/meds they probably do not normally encounter and yet need to know about to treat us appropriately, particularly during procedures where the T1/T2 patient isn’t sufficiently conscious to be aware and interact in the process. Any significantly affecting medical condition should be handled this way, but for some of us (as seen in others’ posts) it can be life impacting.

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Oh, @TomH, “demand” sounds harsh but I totally understand your meaning. I need to be more “in your face” actually! My voice is also very soft and quiet so even if I use the word “demand” it probably still would not be taken too seriously!! :sweat_smile: