When you have bleeding inside your eye (vitreous haemorrhage, VH), it can affect your vision because the blood blocks any light from entering your eye. There are many causes of bleeding in your eye including diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, and retinal vein occlusion. Retina specialists normally would perform laser treatment to the retina in diabetic patients to prevent VH. If there is already VH present, laser cannot be done as the laser beam cannot reach the retina. Bleeding in the eye is due to new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina. New blood vessels grow due to lack of oxygen in conditions like diabetes and retinal vein occlusion. Laser will improve the oxygen supply to the retina and stop growth of new blood vessels.
Vitrectomy surgery to remove blood in the eye
The vitreous gel in your eye traps blood and prevents it from coming out. VH can take up to 6 months to clear and if your vision is affected, vitrectomy surgery can be done to remove the blood trapped in the vitreous gel. Surgery normally takes about 30 mins and after all the blood is removed, more laser can be done to the retina. Recovery after surgery is very quick but your vision may take a few weeks to improve. This is because there is always some blood left in the corner of the eye that cannot be removed. With the vitreous gel removed, this blood will clear out from the eye much quicker.
Rebleeding after surgery
In diabetic patients, repeated episodes of bleeding is common even after vitrectomy surgery. This is usually due to poorly controlled diabetes, or if , the patient is taking blood thinning medications like aspirin, plavix, warfarin, or ticlodipine. I would normally then wait two to three months and if there is still blood present, repeat vitrectomy surgery can be done.
We are approaching the end of Ramadan holiday break in Malaysia this weekend and I would like to wish all my readers and patients “Selamat Hari Raya” and drive safely!