Research Article

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: treatment with xenon-arc photocoagulation. Interim report of multicentre randomised controlled trial.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 19 March 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:739


One hundred patients with symmetrical proliferative diabetic retinopathy had one eye randomly chosen for treatment with xenonarc photocoagulation while the other was left untreated as a control. Patients were subdivided into those with new vessels on both optic discs and those with only peripheral new vessels. In patients with new vessels on the optic discs the vision of the untreated eyes deteriorated more than that of the treated eyes and the difference in deterioration was significant after one, two, and three years. There was no such difference in patients who had only peripheral new vessels. Eighteen patients had become blind in one or both eyes by the last assessment, but only one patient became blind in the treated eye without concomitant blindness in the untreated eye. Thirteen were blind only in the untreated eye. Both photographic and ophthalmoscopic examinations showed that new vessels on the disc regressed more in the treated eyes than in the untreated ones. As some forms of diabetic retinopathy are now treatable, early diagnosis and evaluation is increasingly important.