Vitreoretinal surgery does not refer to one specific type of surgery. It refers to any surgical procedure that treats eye problems involving the retina, macula, and vitreous fluid. These vision disorders include macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and diabetic retinopathy.
The retina is a tissue in the inner eye. It converts images that one sees into electric impulses that the brain can interpret. The macula is part of the retina that helps process central vision. Vitreous fluid fills the eyeball and helps it maintain its shape.
Vitreoretinal surgery can treat a detached retina, which happens due to a retinal tear. A retina may detach gradually or suddenly. Symptoms of retinal detachment may include flashes of light and spots that obstruct vision. Retinal detachment can occur due to an injury. It may also occur when the vitreous fluid pulls on the retina.
Eye surgery typically can correct a detached retina. An eye surgeon may use silicone oil or a bubble of gas to hold the retina in place. He can then use laser photocoagulation to attach the retina by sealing the blood vessels. A patient with a detached retina has a better chance of regaining lost vision if it is treated immediately.