The authors reviewed the records of 302 eyes of 185 patients with diffuse diabetic macular edema with or without cystoid macular edema treated with modified grid laser photocoagulation between the years 1981 and 1990. Three years after initial grid treatment, visual acuity was improved in 14.5%, unchanged in 60.9%, and worse in 24.6% of eyes. The average number of treatments per eye was 1.9. These results show that in assessing long-term visual outcome, modified grid laser photocoagulation is an effective modality in maintaining or improving visual acuity in eyes with diffuse diabetic macular edema. The effectiveness demonstrated in this study is without comparison with control subjects with no treatment or comparison with other treatment techniques.