Pars Plana Vitrectomy Eye Surgery

Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the vitreous humor from the eye.




Pars plana vitrectomy animation

Vitrectomy is when the eye surgeon removes the vitreous from the inside of the eye.

Pars plana vitrectomy is a general term for a group of operations on the deeper part of the eye, all of which involve the removal of some or all of the vitreous – the eye’s clear internal jelly. Pars plana vitrectomy eye surgery is sometimes done to remove eye floaters or vitreous hemorrhage inside the eyeball. In a vitrectomy, the surgeon “vacuums” out the normally clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye, the vitreous humor, with a surgical instrument called a vitrector.

The vitrectomy procedure

A pars plana vitrectomy is normally an outpatient procedure and very rarely entails an overnight stay in a hospital. Either local or general anesthesia numbs and sedates the eye surgery patient. A special sterile instrument, called a speculum props the eye open during the procedure. The surgery technicians will cover the other eye with a sterile drape and closed the entire time.



The procedure begins with the vitreo-retina eye surgeon making a small 2 millimeter slit in the side of the eye before he inserts an infusion tube in order to maintain constant intraocular eye pressure. He then inserts a tiny microscopic cutting device into another small incision in the sclera, or the “whites” of the eye. This device then aspirates, or vacuums out, the cloudy vitreous fluid.

An aqueous fluid replaces the vitreous fluid that is now missing, in order to keep the normal roundness of the eyeball and to maintain normal intraocular pressure in the eye. The artificial fluid used is saline solution. The eye will naturally replace this artificial fluid with its own clear fluids, within 24 hours.

Risks of vitrectomy eye surgery

As a result of highly technical surgical instruments, pars plana vitrectomy surgery has become very safe during the past couple decades due to evolving technologies. New smaller instruments and novel incision techniques reduce the risks of vitrectomy surgery greatly. However, as with any eye surgery, there are risks. These risks include, but are not limited to:

  1. Endophthalmitis eye infection
  2. Cataract
  3. Retinal detachment
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Bleeding in and around the eye
  6. Macular edema, swelling inside the eye
  7. Additional surgery
  8. Complete loss of the eye / vision

Consequently, special caution and consideration is taken by the eye surgeon and ophthalmic staff to avoid any of these risks and complications.

Mark Erickson

Working as an Ophthalmic Photographer since 1988, Mark Erickson has examined and photographed virtually every type of eye condition there is through various high-powered microscopes and cameras. This experience has given him a unique and intimate understanding of the eye and its various anatomical structures, diseases and surgical procedures. In 1998, Mark started coupling this medical photography experience with his artistic and creative abilities. The result is a vast gallery of various eye anatomy, eye conditions & diseases and surgical illustrations. Mark’s work has been published on the front cover of numerous, top eye care industry magazines and books. His work frequently illustrates the front cover of industry journals. Mark’s work has been commissioned by National Geographic, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson and Transition Lenses, to name a few. Mark Erickson’s artwork and story were published in The National Association of Photoshop Professionals monthly publication, “Photoshop User” and “Layers” magazines. Mark now focuses his creative energy on his website, JirehDesign.com, and creating and licensing stock and custom ophthalmic illustrations and animations for use in pharmaceutical marketing, legal cases, product marketing, websites and patient education materials.