This article is contributed by Alaina Kronenberg MD, a cataract specialist in Dearborn, Michigan. I asked her to write this article to better explain cataract surgery after a vitrectomy. I hope you enjoy the article.
A vitrectomy is an operation when a retinal specialist cleans out the jelly in the back of the eye (the vitreous). This is may need to be performed if you have a retinal detachment, bleeding into the vitreous and to sometimes obtain better access to the retina so your surgeon can fix many various problems on the retina.
If you need to have a vitrectomy, it is very likely that the surgery will cause you to develop a cataract. A cataract is when the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The cataract can sometimes develop fairly quickly after your retinal surgery.
If the cataract develops to the point that it interferes with your day to day vision, your comprehensive ophthalmologist may recommend that it is removed. The purpose of the cataract surgery is to improve your vision as much as possible.
If you have the start of a cataract before your require a vitrectomy surgery, often your comprehensive ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon may agree to remove the cataract before your retinal surgery. This is often recommended because it is safer to remove a cataract before retinal surgery.
Cataract surgery after a vitrectomy has a higher risk of a complication. The vitreous usually supports the capsule of the cataract. If the vitreous has been removed, it is often more floppy with a higher risk of being damaged during cataract surgery. Also, sometimes the capsule that surrounds the cataract was damaged during the vitrectomy. There is a higher chance you will need more that one surgery to completely get out the cataract if you had a prior vitrectomy.
Patients who have had cataract surgery after a vitrectomy need to have realistic expectations on the improvement in vision they may experience. If you have had a prior vitrectomy you also may not be a good candidate for some of the premium implants that help correct both distance and near vision.