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Find out how Circle Health Group can help you with private vitrectomy surgery

Doctors performing a vitrectomy surgical procedure on a patient's eye
Vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery that involves removing some or all of the vitreous humour from the eye. Vitreous humour is a clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina in the eye.

If you are experiencing vision problems related to your vitreous, a vitrectomy may be the best course of action for you. This procedure is used to treat a range of eye conditions and our network of experienced eye surgeons near you can help you to decide if it's the best treatment for your personal circumstances.

At Circle Health Group, we'll work with you to ensure that you receive the best possible care throughout your treatment. Our consultants are experienced in performing vitrectomy surgery and will take the time to explain the procedure to you in detail. We understand that every patient's situation is unique, and we will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan that meets your individual needs.

Don't wait any longer to get the help you need. Book a consultation with a specialist of your choice today to learn more about your treatment options and get started on the road to better vision. Call or book online and you could have your initial consultation within 48 hours.

If you're experiencing eye problems that have led to severe vision loss or if you've recently experienced eye trauma, you may be a candidate for a vitrectomy. This surgery can be used to treat a range of conditions that affect the retina, such as retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, and macular holes or macular puckers (epiretinal membrane). Vitrectomy specifically targets conditions that affect the vitreous, which is the gel-like substance inside the eye that helps maintain its shape.

A vitrectomy may be recommended for conditions including:

Diabetic retinopathy

A complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision loss.

Retinal detachment

When the retina pulls away from its normal position, causing vision loss.

Macular hole

A small hole that develops in the macula, causing distorted or blurry vision.

Epiretinal membrane

A thin layer of scar tissue that forms on the surface of the retina, causing visual distortion. This is also known as macular pucker.

Vitreous haemorrhage

Bleeding in the vitreous, often caused by injury or diabetic retinopathy.


A serious eye infection has the potential to damage the vitreous and retina.

Common symptoms that can lead to a vitrectomy

If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate for vitrectomy:

  • Loss of vision
  • Flashes of light or sudden onset of floaters in your vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low-light conditions
  • Blurred or distorted vision

At Circle Health Group, we understand that a vitrectomy can be a daunting prospect. That's why we take great care to ensure that your initial consultation with us is as informative and reassuring as possible.

During your consultation, our expert consultant will take the time to talk to you about your symptoms and medical history, as well as any concerns you may have. They will conduct a thorough examination of your eyes and may need to perform additional tests or scans to confirm a diagnosis.

Your first consultation is incredibly important, as it allows us to get a clear understanding of your individual needs and develop a personalised treatment plan that is tailored to you.

Our team will always take the time to explain all of your options in detail, including the potential benefits and risks of a vitrectomy, and answer any questions you may have. We want you to feel confident and informed about your treatment choices, so that you can make the decision that is best for you.

If a vitrectomy is the right choice for you, our consultant will discuss the procedure itself in detail, so that you know exactly what to expect. We are committed to providing a compassionate and supportive environment for all of our patients, and we will be with you every step of the way.

To book your initial consultation with one of our experienced consultants for private vitrectomy surgery, please contact us today.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well-prepared for your surgery will help to ease any anxiety you may have as well as allow your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You may not be able to eat or drink for several hours before your surgery. Check with your healthcare team when you can eat and drink before your vitrectomy.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in optimal health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

A vitrectomy can either be performed under local anaesthetic, which means you'll be awake during the procedure, but won't feel any pain, or under general anaesthetic, where you'll be asleep the whole time. The anaesthetic used will depend on your personal circumstances, on your reasons for having surgery, and on the preferences of your surgeon.

During vitrectomy surgery, your consultant makes three tiny incisions (cuts) into your eye and removes the jelly-like substance (vitreous gel) from the middle of your eye. Your consultant will then peel away the epiretinal membrane. The vitreous gel is replaced with salty fluid and the incisions are closed using dissolvable stitches. An eye pad or shield is placed over the eye to protect it.

In some cases, other conditions may be identified during your surgery, in which case additional treatments like laser surgery or freezing treatment (cryotherapy) may be performed at the same time as your vitrectomy. This reduces the risk of post-operative complications such as retinal detachment.

Occasionally your consultant may place a gas bubble in your eye to support your retina as your eye heals.

A vitrectomy normally takes around one hour.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery. Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

After your surgery, you will have an eye shield over your eye. This needs to remain in place until the following day when it will be removed at your follow-up appointment.

You may have mild pain or discomfort for a few days after your vitrectomy. Take over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen if you need to. You will be given eye drops to use for up to six weeks while your eye heals. Your healthcare team will tell you how to use your eye drops correctly.

You should avoid heavy lifting for at least the first week after your surgery. Avoid getting soap or shampoo in your eye for the first four weeks and avoid swimming for twelve weeks after surgery.

If you had a gas bubble inserted into your eye, your vision will remain blurred for several weeks or months after your surgery. The gas bubble will slowly be absorbed by your body and your vision will return to normal. This can take up to three months.

If you have a gas bubble in your eye, you must not fly until it has been fully absorbed by your body. Your consultant will tell you when it is safe for you to fly at one of your follow-up appointments.

You must not lie flat until the gas bubble has been absorbed. Your consultant may give you instructions on how to position your head to allow the gas bubble to work properly and prevent increased pressure inside your eye.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Vitrectomy surgery is normally done as a day case, meaning you'll be able to go home the same day.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from the hospital after your vitrectomy. Please make arrangements for someone to collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

How soon you can go back to work after your vitrectomy depends on your individual progress during your recovery and the type of job you do. Most people return to work between one and four weeks after vitrectomy surgery.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you have no blurred or double vision and meet the minimum legal standard of vision. Check with your consultant and inform your insurance company before driving after your vitrectomy.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovering from any type of surgery is different for everyone. You can help your recovery to go more smoothly by going at your own pace during your recovery, following your consultant's instructions carefully and attending all your follow-up appointments.

Most people can resume normal daily activities within a few weeks of vitrectomy surgery. Your vision may take several months to a year to be fully restored after your vitrectomy.

If you're considering a vitrectomy, it's important to understand the potential risks and complications associated with this procedure. While vitrectomy is generally considered safe and effective, as with any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks involved. These include:


As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. To minimise this risk, your surgeon will take great care to ensure that all surgical instruments are properly sterilised, and you will be given antibiotics to help prevent infection.


There is a risk of bleeding during and after the procedure, though it is not common. In some cases, this may require a blood transfusion.

Retinal detachment

There is a risk of retinal detachment following a vitrectomy. This is because the vitreous gel, which helps to support the retina, is removed during the procedure. Your surgeon will take steps to reduce this risk, such as using gas or silicone oil to fill the eye and provide support for the retina.


There is a risk of developing cataracts following a vitrectomy, particularly in patients who have had the procedure at a younger age. This is because the removal of the vitreous gel can cause changes in the eye that may lead to the development of cataracts. If you do develop cataracts, they can be easily treated with cataract surgery.

Vision loss

In rare cases, a vitrectomy may lead to vision loss. This is typically due to a complication during the procedure or the development of another eye condition.

It's important to note that while these risks are possible, they are relatively rare. Your surgeon will explain all of the risks and potential complications associated with a vitrectomy in detail before the procedure so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it's the right option for you.

Here are some frequently asked questions about vitrectomy:

What not to do after a vitrectomy?

After a vitrectomy, it's important to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and bending over for at least a few weeks. You should also avoid rubbing your eye, swimming, or exposing your eye to dust or dirt.

How long after vitrectomy for clear vision?

It can take several weeks or months for your vision to fully recover after a vitrectomy. Some patients may experience improvements in vision soon after the procedure, while others may take longer to recover.

What happens if you don't stay face down after a vitrectomy?

Your surgeon may ask you to maintain a certain position, such as facing downward, for a period of time after a vitrectomy. This helps to ensure that the gas bubble, which is used to hold the retina in place, stays in the correct position. If you don't follow these instructions, the gas bubble may move, and the surgery may not be effective.

Can you get floaters after a vitrectomy?

It is possible to develop floaters after a vitrectomy. However, this is a rare occurrence, and most patients experience a reduction in floaters after the procedure.

How soon can I exercise after a vitrectomy?

You should avoid strenuous activities and exercise for several weeks after a vitrectomy to allow your eye to heal properly. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on when it's safe to resume physical activity.

Is vitrectomy a major surgery?

Vitrectomy is a major surgical procedure that involves removing the vitreous gel from the eye. It is typically performed under local or general anaesthesia and requires a period of recovery.

What is an anterior vitrectomy?

An anterior vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing the vitreous gel from the front of the eye. It is typically performed to treat certain conditions, such as vitreous haemorrhage or dislocated lens fragments.

Can a vitrectomy be done twice?

In some cases, a second vitrectomy may be necessary if the initial surgery was not successful or if a new condition develops. However, multiple vitrectomies can increase the risk of complications and should only be performed if absolutely necessary.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about a vitrectomy, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in April 2023. Next review due April 2026.

  1. What Is Vitrectomy?, AAO
  2. What Is a Vitrectomy?, WebMD
  3. Vitrectomy, NIH
  4. Vitrectomy Surgery, NHS Hull
  5. Vitrectomy, Healthline
  6. What to know about a vitrectomy procedure, Medical News Today
  7. Vitrectomy Surgery, Exeter Eye
  8. Retinal detachment surgery (vitrectomy), Guy’s and St Thomas’ Private Healthcare

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