Complicated retinal detachments (RDs) were successfully managed in 150 eyes of 170 consecutive patients by one surgeon (JLF) using silicone oil in conjunction with modern pars plana vitrectomy. Long-term postoperative complications were observed between 6 months and 5 years of follow-up. Cataracts developed in all phakic eyes and all corneas with oil-endothelial touch showed band keratopathy within 6 months. Recurrent detachments were noted in 22% of eyes during silicone oil tamponade and occurred in 13% of eyes after the oil had been removed. Other complications associated with the use of oil for vitreous surgery included pupillary block glaucoma (3%), closure of the inferior iridectomy (14%), fibrous epiretinal and subretinal proliferations (15%), pain (5%), and subconjunctival deposits of oil (3%). Without exception, within a period of 1 year the intraocular silicone oil showed some degree of emulsification, suggesting that the physicochemical characteristics of the oil injected may be an important variable in long-term complications.