Vitrectomy techniques including endolaser photocoagulation allow visual rehabilitation in many eyes that are otherwise untreatable. Discerning the indications and timing for diabetic vitrectomy is increasingly important as the treatment of complications of diabetic retinopathy continues to undergo modification and redefinition. The most common indications for diabetic vitrectomy include: 1) severe nonclearing vitreous hemorrhage; 2) traction retinal detachment recently involving the macula; 3) combined traction and rhegmatogenous detachment; 4) progressive fibrovascular proliferation; and 5) rubeosis iridis and vitreous hemorrhage for eyes in which the media opacity has prevented adequate laser photocoagulation. Other less common indications in selected cases include dense premacular hemorrhage, ghost cell glaucoma, macular edema with premacular traction, cataract preventing treatment of severe, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, anterior hyaloidal fibrovascular proliferation, and fibrinoid syndrome with retinal detachment. The rationale and surgical objectives are discussed and results are summarized.