Aim: The study was a prospective randomised controlled double-masked trial performed in two centres to compare sub-threshold micropulse diode laser photocoagulation (MPDL) with conventional green laser photocoagulation (CGL) in the treatment of clinically significant diabetic macular oedema (CSMO).
Methods: Fifty-three patients (84 eyes) with diabetic CSMO were randomly assigned to MPDL (n = 44) or CGL (n = 40) according to the modified Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) protocol. Treatments were performed after baseline and re-treatments were allowed at or after the 4 month visit if necessary. Parameters noted included the best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), colour fundus photographs, central retinal thickness using optical coherence tomography (OCT), vision contrast sensitivity with Pelli-Robson charts and presence of visible laser scars at baseline and at 4 and 12 months. The primary outcome was BCVA at 12 months.
Results: All patients completed 12 months of follow-up after treatment at baseline. There were no statistically significant differences in BCVA, contrast sensitivity and retinal thickness between the two laser modalities at 0, 4 and 12 months. We found that laser scarring was much more apparent with CGL than with the sub-threshold approach (MPDL). Laser scars were identified at the 12 month visits in 13.9% of the MPDL-treated eyes compared with 59.0% of the CGL-treated eyes (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Sub-threshold micropulse diode laser photocoagulation is equally as effective as CGL treatment for CSMO.
Trial registration number: ISTRN 90646644.