Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a reactive process of the ocular tissue after perforating trauma, retinal detachment, and surgical manipulations. Although several studies, most of them experimental, have focused on the detection of specific etiologic factors in the development of PVR, there is compelling evidence that PVR is nothing more than a physiologic tissue repair process with undesirable consequences for the retina. Important features of PVR involving the role of platelets, mononuclear phagocytes, and fibroblasts parallel the chain of events observed in tissue repair elsewhere in the body. Numerous experimental models for PVR, originally designed to find specific stimuli for the generation of intraocular traction membrane formation, have shown that the process of PVR is the common pathway of the eye's reaction to vitreoretinal trauma of any kind. Accordingly, vitreoretinal surgeons could learn a lot from the work of other disciplines, e.g. surgery and dermatology, on wound healing, and the factors known to modify wound healing elsewhere in the body should be taken into consideration. The well-established impairment of tissue repair processes caused by medical treatment with corticosteroids and cytotoxic agents suggests a combined medical approach to PVR as an adjunct to surgical treatment, using refined methods of application and dosage. Steroids and cytotoxic drugs will influence the course of PVR by suppressing macrophage recruitment and the initial inflammatory reaction as well as the proliferative phase of wound healing with traction retinal detachment, respectively.