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The aim of this article is to present the current state-of-the-art in regard to the application of vital dyes during vitreoretinal surgery, ‘chromovitrectomy’, as well as to overview the current literature regarding the properties of dyes, techniques of application, indications, and complications in chromovitrectomy.A large body of published research has recently addressed the toxicity profile of indocyanine green for chromovitrectomy. Experimental data demonstrate dose-dependent toxicity of indocyanine green to various retinal cells. Newer generation vital dyes for chromovitrectomy include trypan blue, patent blue, triamcinolone acetonide, infracyanine green, sodium fluorescein, bromophenol blue, fluorometholone acetate and brilliant blue. Novel instruments may enable a selective painting of preretinal tissues during chromovitrectomy.This review suggests that the field of chromovitrectomy represents an expanding area of research. The first line agents for internal limiting membrane staining in chromovitrectomy are indocyanine green, infracyanine green, and brilliant blue. Patent blue, bromophenol blue and trypan blue arose as outstanding biostains for visualization of epiretinal membranes. Novel dyes available for chromovitrectomy deserve further investigation.