The goal of this review is to present the current knowledge on specific growth factor involvement in posterior segment eye disease. Growth factors can be defined as multifunctional signals which modify cell growth or proliferation, alone or in concert, by binding to specific cell surface receptors. Their biological effects on cells include cell adhesion, migration, survival, differentiation, extracellular matrix secretion, protease and protease inhibitor release, production of other growth activities, and angiogenesis. Growth factors couple the cell to the microenvironment. As some growth factors are soluble mediators of wound repair and angiogenesis, it seems possible that proliferative vitreoretinopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy are caused or aggravated by these factors. Other factors act as survival factors and can possibly prevent retinal degeneration. The multifunctional nature of growth factors makes it probable that practical uses will be found for these agents in the future.