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What is a typical procedure like?

A typical pars plana vitrectomy is a day procedure after which you will be able to go home. You will need to arrive at the hospital 90 minutes before the procedure to be prepared for theatre. Preparation involves instilling drops in the eye to numb the eye, dilate the pupil and sterilise the surface of the eye.

When you arrive in theatre an anaesthetist will either give you sedation or a general anaesthetic depending on you and your doctor’s discussion prior to surgery. If you have chosen to have your surgery under sedation, you will be able to talk to your doctor and he will be able to talk to you. On top of the sedation, you will be given local anaesthesia that will allow you to feel only touch but stops you from feeling any pain during the procedure.

Once your procedure is finished, you will go back to the ward and will be ready for discharge. The first day after your surgery, you will come and see Dr van der Merwe, where he will remove the patch and shield and give you all the necessary information regarding your postoperative care.

During the procedure, Dr Van der Merwe will remove the gel on the inside of your eye. Dr van der Merwe will then remove the thin layer of tissue on the surface of the retina that keeps the macular hole open. At the end of the procedure, Dr Van der Merwe will put a bubble of gas in the eye to stabilise your retina and seal the wounds. If necessary, very small stitches that absorb on their own may be placed to seal the wounds. Before leaving theatre, a patch and shield will be placed on your eye. You are required to position face down while awake for at least 3 days and sleep on a specific side to best close the hole in your macula.


“Vision is the true creative rhythm”

- Robert Delaunay