We performed 115 scleral-buckling procedures for primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachments in which the argon endolaser drained subretinal fluid. The laser was set at 0.80 to 1.25 W and 0.5 second; the endolaser probe was held adjacent to, but not touching, the choroid. The procedure was successful in 112 of 115 (97.0%) patients. When inadequate drainage occurred, the use of the penetrating diathermy tip was successful. The only major complications were subretinal hemorrhages that had migrated posterior to the buckle in two patients (1.70%), retinal perforation in one patient (0.87%), and retinal incarceration in one patient (0.87%). Laser drainage caused a slow, controlled drainage of subretinal fluid.