A study was made of a consecutive series of 47 cases of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment treated by pars plana vitrectomy in which no holes were identified preoperatively. The view of the fundus during preoperative examination varied from being totally clear to completely obscured by media opacities. The role of pars plana vitrectomy in finding retinal holes peroperatively is considered. The incidence of discovering holes and the locations of those found at the time of surgery are presented. The significance of these findings is discussed. Where the preoperative view was good and the extent of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) did not exceed grade C2, retinal reattachment was achieved in 75% of the cases. A review made of a similar group of patients treated with conventional retinal buckling before the introduction of pars plana vitrectomy revealed that successful retinal reattachment was achieved in 70% of cases. The study concludes that pars plana vitrectomy, while being necessary for cases of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment when the view of the retina is obscured, will not always reveal the presence of a retinal break. If the preoperative view of the retina was good and the extent of PVR did not exceed grade C2, pars plana vitrectomy did not seem to offer obvious advantages over conventional buckling procedures.