A consecutive series of 114 eyes (112 patients) undergoing pars plana vitrectomy for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment not complicated by severe proliferative vitreoretinopathy is presented (follow up 1 to 4 years; mean 19 months). The indications for vitrectomy fell into two main groups: (1) where the retinal view was poor and vitrectomy was required to clear media opacities to allow identification of retinal breaks (n = 62); and (2) where technically difficult breaks existed and vitrectomy with internal tamponade was used to relieve vitreoretinal traction and facilitate retinal break closure (n = 44). In some of these cases the need for scleral buckling was eliminated. A smaller third group (n = 8) existed where the position of the break(s) was uncertain in the presence of an adequate view. The success rate with one procedure was 74% and with further surgery retinal reattachment was achieved in 92%. At 6 months after further surgery, beyond which interval no new failures were encountered, best corrected visual acuity was improved in 92 eyes (81%), unchanged in 14(12%), and worse in eight (7%). We conclude that pars plana vitrectomy is an effective method for treatment of selected cases of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment not complicated by proliferative vitreoretinopathy.