Vitreous and Retinal Surgery for Vision improvement

Mr Kolb is one of four full time NHS Vitreoretinal surgeons at Europe's largest teaching hospital, St James University Hospital in Leeds. This serves the large population of Leeds, and is also a tertiary referral centre supporting other Yorkshire NHS hospitals. The unit treats tens of thousands of eye patients every year.

The retina is the 'photographic film' at the back of the eye, it forms an image from light which is focused by the cornea, and the internal lens of the eye. The vitreous is the clear gel that fills the void between the eyes internal lens and the retina. Problems with either of these parts of the eye can cause visual symptoms such as floaters, blurring and distortion. Surgery can correct or improve most of these problems. Vitreoretinal surgery is usually complex, and requires specific training to become proficient in the treatment of vitreous and retinal eye health problems. Mr Kolb offers treatment for conditions such as Vitreous floaters, Epiretinal membrane, macular hole, vitreomacular traction, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments and other vitreoretinal disorders. He uses the most advanced, up to date equipment and techniques for treating Vitreous and retinal disorders.

You may often be referred by your GP, Optometrist or another Ophthalmologist (eye Doctor) to a Vitreoretinal surgeon, who will discuss with you the options and details of available treatments. Like cataract surgery, the treatments for most vitreoretinal conditions can be performed with local anaesthetic. The surgery usually takes around 30 minutes to complete. With any operation, general anaesthetic (being put to sleep) can also be used if required.

Post operative recovery of vitrectomy with or without cataract surgery is similar to post operative cataract recovery. However with vitrectomy a temporary air or gas bubble is often left in the back of the eye. This air or gas bubble is very difficult to see through, one may only have shapes and shadow vision. Over time (usually 2 weeks) this will absorb and be replaced by the eyes own clear liquid. Whilst the air or gas absorbs you will often notice a moving line sinking in the vision over the first week into the bottom of the vision eventually becoming a small dark bubble which will move especially when tilting your head forward or lying on your back. The vision above the bubble should be clearer than before surgery and if it is not, or gets worse then you should seek an earlier post operative follow up visit. Visual recovery can be a little slower than with cataract surgery alone and is more common to take a few weeks rather than days. With some surgeries, particularly those affecting the macular such as macular hole, epiretinal membrane and vitreomacular traction it may take months (even up to a full year) to get the best improvements from the surgery.

Please use the links below to download patient information leaflets from the British and Eire association of Vitreoretinal surgeons.