The aim of the study was to determine the effect of laser photocoagulation for clinically significant diabetic macular oedema (DMO) on macular visual function as assessed by conventional and short-wavelength automated static threshold perimetry. The sample comprised 24 patients who required laser photocoagulation for clinically significant DMO (mean age 59.75 years, range 45-75 years). One eye of each patient was selected for the study. Patients underwent conventional and short-wavelength perimetry using programme 10-2 of the Humphrey Field Analyser on two separate occasions prior to treatment and subsequently within 1 week of, and at 1, 2, 4 and 12 weeks after, treatment. The pointwise pattern deviation plot was analysed for conventional perimetry and a pointwise horizontal and vertical hemifield asymmetry analysis was derived for short-wavelength perimetry (thereby negating the influence of pre-receptoral absorption). The extent of sensitivity loss was determined by counting the number of stimulus locations with statistical probability levels of p less than 0.05. Group mean log minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) visual acuity was largely unchanged over the course of the study. Conventional perimetry showed an increase in the group mean number of abnormal contiguous stimulus locations from 2.4 (SD 4.3, range 0-14) immediately prior to treatment, to 12.4 (SD 7.8, range 0-30) within 1 week of treatment; at 3 months post-treatment, the group mean number of abnormal contiguous stimulus locations was 8.1 (SD 6.5, range 0-20). A similar but less pronounced change was found for short-wavelength perimetry. The spatial position of the post-treatment localised sensitivity loss corresponded with the area of retinal photocoagulation. Despite proven benefit in the stabilisation of visual acuity, laser photocoagulation for clinically significant DMO invariably results in a localised loss of perimetric sensitivity within 10 degrees eccentricity of the fovea. Evidence for the value of laser therapy for clinically significant DMO must be re-examined.