This procedure removes the vitreous humor (the thick, jelly-like fluid in the eye's rear chamber). Vitrectomy is used to treat a variety of eye problems, most commonly when the vitreous humor has grown cloudy or has filled with blood from a hemorrhage. Vitrectomy is performed in an operating room under local or general anesthesia. It usually takes one to two hours to complete.


The patient is given local or general anesthesia, and the area around the eye is cleaned.

Inserting the Tools

Three instruments are inserted into the eye's rear chamber: A fiber-optic light illuminates the chamber. A vitrector, a hollow cutting tool, will be used to cut up and suck out the vitreous humor. An infusion port will inject saline solution as the vitreous humor is removed to maintain proper pressure inside the eye.

Vitreous Humor Removed

The physician slowly maneuvers the vitrector in and around the vitreous humor, separating it from the retina and sucking it out of the eye. Saline is injected as the vitreous humor is removed.

End of Procedure

The instruments are removed, and the openings are sealed with fine stitches. As the eye heals, the saline will be absorbed and replaced by the eye's natural fluids.

After Care

The eye may be sore and red for several days after surgery. Prescription eyedrops are usually needed for the following weeks or months as the eye heals.