The persistence and recurrence of choroidal neovascularization after initial treatment with laser photocoagulation have been shown to be major contributors to loss of visual acuity. The 247 eyes assigned to krypton red laser photocoagulation in the Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study-Krypton Laser were examined to describe the incidence, timing, visual impact, and potential risk factors for persistence and recurrence. Persistent neovascularization detected within 6 weeks of initial treatment was observed in 32% of treated eyes, and recurrent neovascularization was estimated by life-table methods to develop in an additional 47% over a 5-year period. Both persistence and recurrence were accompanied by an increased frequency of severe visual loss. The persistence rate among eyes having 10% or more of the foveal side of the neovascular membrane not covered by treatment was twice as high as in eyes having more extensive coverage. Patients having a fellow eye with a neovascular membrane or scar, a fellow eye with 20 or more drusen in the central macula, or a fellow eye with nongeographic atrophy at initial visit had more recurrences than patients without these characteristics. Ophthalmologists treating similar lesions may be able to reduce persistent neovascularization and the associated visual loss by covering the entire lesion with treatment.