Surgery will only be scheduled with Dr. Girschek after a thorough discussion regarding benefits and potential risks of vitrectomy surgery. Dr. Girschek will discuss your potential retina surgery with you and your accompanying friends or family and answer all questions that you may have. Alternatives to surgery will be discussed as well as a complete assessment of visual potential with and without surgery. Unless emergency surgery is required, Dr. Girschek will provide you with an AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology)-published handout regarding your surgery to review and will schedule a follow-up visit one to two weeks later to discuss your potential surgery in further detail. You are encouraged to go home, discuss the surgery with friends and family, research options and raise questions that can be addressed at your follow-up visit with Dr. Girschek. You should not feel as though a decision needs to be made regarding surgery right away.
Potential risks of surgery include a possibility of loss of vision, either partially or totally, or in extreme cases loss of the eye. These devastating complications are often due to severe hemorrhaging or infection. More commonly, patients may develop a cataract post-operatively, especially if a gas bubble is placed inside your eye at the time of surgery. Additionally, patients may develop elevated intraocular pressure post-operatively that may require eyedrops and, rarely, surgery to manage. A scratch to the surface of the eye may also develop during or after surgery that may require frequent visits and eyedrops to treat.
You will be asked to start antibiotic eyedrops three days before your surgery. On the day of your surgery, you will be asked to arrive at the surgical center approximately one hour before your scheduled surgery time. Your surgery will likely be performed under local anesthesia with light intravenous sedation administered by the anesthesia service. You will be awake but relaxed and comfortable during surgery. A patch will be placed over your operated eye after surgery which should be left in place until seen by Dr. Girschek the following morning.
Dr. Girschek will meet with you after your surgery to discuss the case and review any questions you may have. It is normal to have some very mild discomfort overnight but in the event that you should experience any pain, Dr. Girschek’s cell phone number will be provided for you to contact him during the night. In most cases, you will be asked to use an antibiotic and corticosteroid eye drop four times a day for three weeks after surgery. You will typically be scheduled to follow up with Dr. Girschek the day after your surgery, three weeks after your surgery and, again, two months after surgery. If a gas bubble is to be placed inside your eye at the conclusion of surgery, you will be asked to keep your head in a specific position for a period of one to two weeks. This is to help place “the bubble on the trouble” and allow your retina to heal properly. You will notice the bubble jiggle within your vision and slowly decrease in size in a downwards direction.