Seventy percent (70%) of patients who undergo a vitrectomy develop a cataract and therefore require further surgery at a later date. A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens in the front of the eye, which may be traumatised during surgery or affected by the silicon oil or gas, inserted at the time of the operation. It can be successfully removed in most cases.
There is also the possibility of an infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis). The risk of this happening is believed to be 1/500. You will receive eye drops with instructions on when to use them to reduce the possibility of this occurring. Any of these rare complications may lead to severe, permanent loss of vision or blindness and, in extreme cases, even loss of the eyeball. You may require admission into hospital for treatment that could include, amongst others, further injections into the eye or surgery. The prognosis in such event is usually guarded.
You must immediately contact Professor Stanga or his team if any of the following signs of infection or other complications develop: pain, blurry or decreased vision, sensitivity to light, redness of the eye (compared to immediately after the operation) or discharge from the eye. You should not rub your eyes or swim until authorised by Professor Stanga or his team. Please keep all postoperative appointments or scheduled telephone calls so that Professor Stanga or his team can check for complications.
Professor Stanga or a member of his team will tell you about your eye medication including how often it needs to be used and for how long. A nurse will be available to show you how to put your eye drops in safely prior to you leaving the hospital. Always wash your hands before and after you put eye drops in to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid touching any part of your eye with the drops bottle to avoid its contamination or injury to the eye. Make sure the bottle lid is placed on a clean surface. For instilling drops, hold your head back and with the bottle in one hand and with the fingers of the other hand gently pull the lower eyelid to form a gap. Squeeze the bottle so that one or more drops go into the gap between the eyeball and the lower eyelid. Most patients find that the drops sting. Close your eye gently and keep it closed for approximately one minute and wipe away any drops that did not go into the eye with a clean tissue.
If you are having more than one type of drop they will be appropriately labelled including the order they should be used in. Try to leave approximately three minutes between different drop types.
Replace the bottle lid immediately after use and store the drops as instructed. Always keep the eye clean. If the lids are sticky, clean them using cotton wool balls and cooled boiled water. If you lose or run out of your drops before the end of your treatment please get more from your GP. It is important that you continue to use your eye drops as prescribed. Once opened the drops can be kept for four weeks and then must be thrown away.
If you are posturing face down you should put drops in by turning your head to the side and then promptly resume your face down position again. You may find it useful to purchase a drop aid from your local chemist which can assist you when putting your eye drops in.
Please do not use eye make-up for four weeks or until all redness has gone from your eye.
Please remember that you may bath, shower, shave and wash your hair but avoid getting soap into your eyes and keep your head in the correct position. Never put your head right back.
You may resume normal household and sexual activity once you are no longer required to posture and feel able to. Light housework is possible as long as you keep your head in the correct position. Avoid vacuuming, gardening, dusty environments and accept any offers of help from family and friends, if necessary. You may go out with friends and family, read, listen to music, play board games or watch television (using an angled mirror) once you feel well enough but again you must keep your head in the correct position and maintain the posturing regime.
It is usually normal for eyelids to appear swollen during the posturing period and this should subside in time. If you develop nausea, vomiting, sudden loss of vision or a reaction to your eye drops please contact Professor Stanga or a member of his team.
It is very important that all loaned posturing equipment/pillows are returned on time for other patients to use.
Please do not leave the hospital without an appointment to see Professor Stanga postoperatively.
When you can return to work or driving varies from one patient to another and will depend upon your vision. Please ask Professor Stanga or a member of his team to provide you with a sick note if needed.