Vitrectomy and the detached retina

The renovation of the Ophthalmology Department that began in 2016 has allowed us to expand the department as far as its resources and services are concerned.

New subspecialities such as paediatric ophthalmology, oculoplastics, retina and diabetes medical eye care are now offered, including new surgical procedures such as vitrectomy.

Besides being able to perform all the surgeries of the anterior and posterior segments of the eye, the specialty was equally reinforced in its quality, distinction and technology as far as complementary exams are concerned.

The retina is located inside the eye and is responsible for quality of vision, receiving and sending captured images through the optic nerve to the brain.

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the vitreous fluid (gel) in the central cavity of the eye so that vision can be corrected. Several pathological situations may occur, the most common being detachment of the retina.

A detached retina occurs when there is a separation of the neurosensory retina from the retinal pigment epithelium, a condition considered to be very serious and which can lead to blindness if not treated in time.

After removing the vitreous and repairing the tear in the retina, the surgeon refills the eye with a special saline solution that closely resembles the natural vitreous fluid of the eye.

The most common pathologies requiring a vitrectomy are:

■ Treatment of retinal disorders: retinal detachment, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, macular pucker (scar tissue on the macula, central area of the retina); macular hole, among others;
■ Floaters resulting from vitreous detachment;
■ Foreign bodies in the vitreous cavity;
■ Vitreous haemorrhage (blood in the vitreous humour) which provokes hypovision;
■ Complications from cataract surgery;
■ Diabetic retinopathy;
■ Glaucoma

The HPA Health Group’s first vitrectomy was performed on a Dutch patient at the beginning of November 2016. The patient came to the Hospital de Alvor with a detached retina that had evolved over a 15-day period; she had total loss of vision in the left eye. She was operated on in less than 24 hours by Dr. Argílio Caldeirinha and Dr. João Rosendo.

Dr. Argílio Caldeirinha explains: “The procedure was performed using ocular microsurgical techniques, and consisted in the removal of the vitreous gel of the posterior segment, followed by the suction of the sub-retinal liquid that kept the retinal layers separate. Lastly, the tear that had originally caused the detachment of the retina was repaired with an endolaser. The patient was extremely satisfied with the reestablishment of her vision and three weeks after the surgery, she returned safely to her home country.”

According to the director of ophthalmology, “the Hospital Particular do Algarve relies on some of the most advanced equipment available to perform this surgery, including a state-of-the-art microscope with incredible resolution qualities that also incorporates an image recording system”. This investment is associated with an important, parallel reinforcement in the area of human resources, positioning the Ophthalmology Department of the HPA Health Group as one of the best equipped in southern Portugal.

Article supplied by the Ophthalmology Department of Hospital Particular do Algarve Group, with hospitals in Alvor and Gambelas (Faro)