A pilot study on the effect of localised irradiation applied to the site of a standard perforating injury in the rabbit eye, showed that gamma rays limited the formation of post-traumatic vitreoretinal membranes. A controlled study was therefore undertaken to confirm this observation. Twenty-four pairs of rabbits underwent a standard perforating injury in the right eye. One rabbit of each pair received a radioactive ophthalmic Cobalt applicator and the other a dummy applicator. Nineteen of 24 non-irradiated eyes developed vitreoretinal membranes, with associated traction retinal detachment. Only four of 24 irradiated eyes developed traction retinal detachment.