Renin, prorenin, and immunoreactive renin were present in vitreous and subretinal fluid of eyes from subjects with and without diabetic retinopathy. Renin substrate, albumin, transferrin, and immunoglobin G were also found in these ocular fluids. In many samples renin levels were close to the detection limit of the assay. The levels of renin substrate, albumin, transferrin, and immunoglobulin G varied widely among ocular fluid samples, but in each individual sample the levels were, relative to each other, similar to those in plasma. In contrast, the prorenin level in ocular fluid was up to 100 times higher than expected on the basis of the plasma protein content of ocular fluid. Moreover, there was little difference in prorenin concentrations between samples with low and high plasma protein contents. Prorenin, relative to albumin and other plasma proteins, was higher in vitreous fluid from eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy complicated by traction retinal detachment than in eyes of nondiabetic subjects with spontaneous retinal detachment. It appears that prorenin (and possibly renin) in ocular fluid is controlled by an active and specific process, possibly local synthesis within the eye. In view of the vascular actions of angiotensin II, an intraocular renin-angiotensin system may play a role in diabetic retinopathy.