The platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptors (PDGFRs) are central to a spectrum of human diseases. When PDGFRs are activated by PDGF, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Src family kinases (SFKs) act downstream of PDGFRs to enhance PDGF-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of various signaling intermediates. In contrast to these firmly established principles of signal transduction, much less is known regarding the recently appreciated ability of ROS and SFKs to indirectly and chronically activate monomeric PDGF receptor α (PDGFRα) in the setting of a blinding condition called proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). In this context, we made a series of discoveries that substantially expands our appreciation of epigenetic-based mechanisms to chronically activate PDGFRα. Vitreous, which contains growth factors outside the PDGF family but little or no PDGFs, promoted formation of a unique SFK-PDGFRα complex that was dependent on SFK-mediated phosphorylation of PDGFRα and activated the receptor's kinase activity. While vitreous engaged a total of five receptor tyrosine kinases, PDGFRα was the only one that was activated persistently (at least 16 h). Prolonged activation of PDGFRα involved mTOR-mediated inhibition of autophagy and accumulation of mitochondrial ROS. These findings reveal that growth factor-containing biological fluids, such as vitreous, are able to tirelessly activate PDGFRα by engaging a ROS-mediated, self-perpetuating loop.