A series of 75 eyes underwent pars plana vitrectomy for progressive diabetic traction retinal detachment of the macula. In all cases, the media was sufficiently clear to allow preoperative macular examination. The overall visual improvement was higher in phakic eyes (80%) than aphakic eyes (72%) and the rate of neovascular glaucoma was less in phakic eyes. The difference was not statistically significant, however. The final visual acuity corresponded to the degree of preoperative visual deterioration. Thus, surgery during the rapidly evolving proliferative and retracting process did not adversely affect the visual success rate when compared to previous reports on longstanding vitreous hemorrhage.