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Diabetic retinopathy is the most common vascular retinopathy associated with decreased visual acuity among young adults.
Researchers in the ETDRS found that focal photocoagulation was effective in reducing the risk of moderate visual loss by 50% (from 24% to 12%, 3 years after initiation of treatment) in patients with DME. Although the goal of this treatment was to halt the disease, at times, focal treatment was shown to increased the chance of visual improvement by decreasing the frequency of persistent macular edema.
For more than 20 years, the ETDRS results have been the standard of care for managing DME. The ETDRS results stimulated additional questions that remain unanswered.
For example, there was no clear recommendation for the number of re-treatments for refractory DME, and this remains one of the most challenging clinical problems clinicians still face today. Despite that, many current clinical trials continue to use the ETDRS results for comparison.