Tractional retinoschisis and tractional retinal detachment are both complications of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The two conditions are frequently confused because they are similar in diagnostic features. We determined the respective incidence of tractional retinoschisis and tractional retinal detachment in 200 eyes with tractional elevations of the retina in patients with diabetes. In 39 eyes, the diagnosis was unequivocally tractional retinoschisis because the retinal elevation maintained its concave contour despite the development of retinal holes. In 65 eyes, tractional retinal detachment was diagnosed with equal certainty, either because pigment lines were present or because the elevation, after a retinal hole developed, rapidly became convex and extended to the ora serrata. The remaining 96 eyes, in which retinal holes or pigment lines were absent, were classified by other features that had been tested for significance in the already diagnosed eyes. On that basis, the diagnosis was retinoschisis in 46 eyes and retinal detachment in 50 eyes.