We examined the three-year incidence of retinal detachment in a consecutive cohort of 4,329 eyes which had cataract surgery with implantation of a posterior chamber intraocular lens between 1979 and 1984. The overall three-year incidence was 1.4%. The three-year incidence for open capsule cases (1.9%) was over twice that for intact capsule cases (0.8%). Axial myopes (axial length greater than or equal to 25 mm) overall were at least three times as likely to develop retinal detachment within three years (3.6%) as eyes with axial lengths less than 25 mm (1.1%). The combination of open capsule and axial myopia increased the three-year retinal detachment risk tenfold over that of the intact capsule in normal length eyes.