Purpose: To prove the role of the vitreous in retinal detachment surgery with scleral buckling procedures, we retrospectively investigated the charts of patients who were operated on for retinal detachment by scleral buckling between January 1995 and June 1997. Methods: Out of a total of 718 cases, 41 retinal detachments occurred in previously vitrectomized eyes. The buckling procedure consisted of silicone sponge explants in 513 cases (254 radial, 259 circumferential) and of encircling elements in 202 cases. Three eyes received a temporary balloon. The minimal follow-up was 3 months. Results: After primary surgery in the 677 nonvitrectomized eyes, the retina was attached in 482 eyes (71.2%), after reoperation in 627 eyes (92.6%). With up to 3 reoperations (including vitrectomy with gas or silicone oil tamponade in 79 eyes), the final success rate was 98.7%. The corresponding reattachment rates in the 41 vitrectomized eyes were 82.9% after primary surgery and 97.6% after reoperation. Repeated surgery in 6 eyes consisted of successful internal tamponade by silicone oil. The reattachment rates after primary buckle procedure are of most interest to the role of the vitreous: the highest success rate (82.9%) was achieved in the vitrectomized eyes versus 71.2% in the nonvitrectomized eyes. The difference is statistically not significant. Conclusions: We therefore conclude that the absence of the vitreous has no adverse effect on the results of buckling procedures for retinal detachment. The choice of the surgical technique in treating retinal detachments in vitrectomized eyes should only determined by retinal findings such as the number and extent of breaks or the presence and stage of proliferative vitreoretinopathy.