During a 4-year period, 1978-1981, 312 patients were operated on for unilateral rhegmatogenous detachment of the retina. Of the fellow eyes, 11% showed moderate (VA 0.15-0.4) and 5% severe (VA less than or equal to 0.1) visual impairment. Of the fellow eyes 49% were myopic (- 1.0 D. or more), and aphakia was present in 14%. Details of the peripheral fundus were adequately recordable for 260 fellow eyes. Degenerations considered to predispose to retinal detachment were found in 98 eyes (38%): lattice degeneration in 54 (21%), granular tuft in 17 (7%), retinal tear(s) in 12 (5%), and retinoschisis in 15 (6%). Prophylactic treatment of predisposing degenerations was performed in 91 of the 98 eyes using cryo- or photocoagulation (argon laser). No intra- or permanent post-operative complications were noticed. One of the treated fellow eyes (1.1%) detached 10 months after prophylactic treatment due to new tears. In the untreated group, 6 of the 221 eyes detached (2.7%). The difference was not statistically significant, but the groups were not comparable because 93% of the eyes showing predisposing degenerations were treated. None of the eyes treated for retinal breaks or lattice degeneration has detached. In these cases prophylactic treatment of the fellow eye is recommended. In most eyes cryocoagulation seems to be preferable to photocoagulation.