Surgery of the Retina, Vitreous, and Macula


The retina is a highly specialized tissue lining the innermost portion of the eye. It contains millions of specialized photoreceptor cells called rods and cones that convert light rays into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. Rods provide the ability to see in dim light while cones allow for sharp and color vision.

In front of the retina is a chamber called the vitreous body, which contains a clear, gelatinous fluid called vitreous humor Light rays pass through the vitreous before reaching the retina. It is strongly adherent to the retina at the vitreous base in the periphery, the optic nerve head, along the blood vessels and around the macula. With aging, the portions of the vitreous may liquefy and detach in a condition called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).

Vitreo-retinal surgeons are ophthalmologists who sub-specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a large variety of conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, and many others. Procedures common to this sub-specialty include scleral buckles for retinal detachment, vitrectomy for vitreous hemorrhage, macular holes, and epiretinal membranes, and laser procedures for innumerable retinal conditions

Specific retina and vitreous diseases include: age-related macular degeneration, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine toxicity, cystoid macular edema, color blindness, central serous chorioretinopathy, diabetic eye diseases, diabetic retinopathy, macular hole, posterior vitreous detachment, retinal detachment, and retinopathy of prematurity.

Diagnostic procedures and equipment used in retina and vitreous diseases include: Amsler grid, dilation, flourescein angiography, fundus photography, ICG angiography, OCT, ophthalmoscopy, ultrasonography.

The surgical procedures performed for retina and vitreous diseases: intravitreal injection, macular hole surgery, photodynamic therapy, retinal detachment reattachment surgery, retinal laser, pars plana vitrectomy.

Most of the serious retinal problems which require surgery are caused by problems with the vitreous, the clear jelly-like substance which fills the space in the eye.