Objective: The purpose of the study is to investigate the role of laser photocoagulation in the treatment of macula-sparing cytomegalovirus (CMV)-related retinal detachment (CMVRD) in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Design: Seven macula-sparing CMVRD identified between July 1995 and February 1997 were managed with laser photocoagulation and observed prospectively (group I). Seven CMVRD reattached with pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) and silicone oil injection (group II) between January 1992 and June 1996 were analyzed retrospectively. Participants: Patients with AIDS with macula-sparing rhegmatogenous CMVRD with no proliferative vitreoretinopathy and visual acuity better than 20/30 were studied. Intervention: Demarcation laser photocoagulation (group I) or PPV with silicone oil injection (group II) was performed. Main Outcome Measures: Postoperative best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), temporary or permanent visual loss, CMVRD progression or recurrence, and cataract were measured. Results: Follow-up ranged from 2 to 19 months (mean, 9 months) in group I. Post-treatment BCVA was unchanged in all eyes after laser. One retina redetached 9 months after laser treatment. Final visual acuity was less than 20/40 in one eye because of progressive CMV retinitis. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 24 months (mean, 10.4 months) in group II. All group II RDs were reattached successfully with PPV and silicone oil injection. Best-corrected visual acuity was an average of 1.6 lines worse after vitrectomy. Silicone-induced hyperopic shift caused temporary visual loss in all eyes (mean duration, 5.6 weeks). Delayed visual loss due to cataract formation occurred in five eyes. Three eyes had cataract extraction within 6 months. Two partial redetachments developed. One was repaired with repeat vitrectomy. Final visual acuity was less than 20/40 in five of seven eyes because of progressive CMV retinitis (1), dense cataract (2), uncorrected refractive error (2), and uncertain cause (1). Conclusions: Demarcation laser photocoagulation appears to be an effective treatment for many macula-sparing CMVRD. Loss of BCVA, temporary postoperative visual loss due to silicone-induced refractive error, and delayed visual loss due to cataract after vitrectomy with silicone oil injection may be avoided. Demarcation laser photocoagulation may be an effective alternative to vitrectomy in macula-sparing CMVRD.