AIM/BACKGROUND: Viewing the peripheral retina is the major problem in the repair of pseudophakic retinal detachments. Conventional buckling procedures in pseudophakic eyes are complicated by persistent retinal (re-) detachment and proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) more often than in phakic eyes. METHODS: Primary vitrectomy was performed in 33 consecutive cases for pseudophakic retinal detachment with the help of liquid perfluorocarbons and a wide angle viewing system, following a standardised procedure. All eyes have passed the 12 month follow up examination. RESULTS: The primary reattachment rate was 94%. PVR was observed in one case (3%). Seventy nine per cent (26 eyes) regained vision of 20/50 or better, with a median visual acuity of 20/30. The most frequent complication was transient glaucoma during the early postoperative period in 48% (16 eyes) requiring carboanhydrase inhibitors. CONCLUSION: The main advantage of primary vitrectomy over conventional buckling seems to be the better intraoperative sight to the most peripheral retinal holes, controlled removal of vitreous traction, and focused endolaser coagulation. This may explain the low rate of PVR after primary vitrectomy. Also, visual results tended to be better compared with conventional surgical techniques possibly because of removed vitreous opacities, and because of a superior retinal reattachment rate as well as the reduced rate of PVR.