The most common conditions requiring vitrectomy surgery are vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, giant retinal tear, macular hole, epiretinal membrane, intraocular infection (endophthalmitis), trauma and intraocular foreign body.

Vitreous surgery is performed in the hospital under general or local anesthesia. The surgeon uses a fiberoptic light to illuminate the inside of the eye.

In a vitrectomy, instruments are passed through the sclera into the vitreous cavity. A variety of instruments can be used to remove the vitreous gel and any scar tissue that may be growing on the surface of the retina. A laser probe can be inserted into the eye so that the laser treatment can be done during surgery.

The vitreous is replaced during the operation with either clear fluid that is compatible with the eye, or with air that completely fills the eye. Over time, this fluid (or air) is absorbed by the eye and is replaced by the eye&rsquop;s own fluid; the eye does not replace the vitreous itself.

Vitreous surgery usually lasts one to two hours. Following surgery, the patient may experience some discomfort and a scratchy sensation in the eye, but significant pain is unusual.