The current standard therapy for patients with diabetic macular oedema (DME)--focal/grid laser photocoagulation--usually does not improve impaired vision, and many patients lose vision despite laser therapy. Recent approval of ranibizumab by the European Medicines Agency to treat visual impairment due to DME fulfils the previously unmet medical need for a treatment that can improve visual acuity (VA) in these patients. We reviewed 1- and 2-year clinical trial findings for ranibizumab used as treatment for DME to formulate evidence-based treatment recommendations in the context of this new therapy. DME with or without visual impairment should be considered for treatment when it fulfils the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) criteria for clinically significant oedema. For DME with centre involvement and associated vision loss due to DME, monthly ranibizumab monotherapy with treatment interruption and re-initiation based on VA stability is recommended. Laser therapy based on ETDRS guidelines is recommended for other forms of clinically significant DME without centre involvement or when no vision loss has occurred, despite centre involvement. Because these recommendations are based on randomised controlled trials of 1-2 years duration, guidance may need updating as long-term ranibizumab data become available and as additional therapeutic agents are assessed in clinical trials.