Introduction: Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is treated with panretinal photocoagulation, which improves the visual prognosis in this complication considerably. The visual acuity (VA) and grade of retinopathy before treatment are known indicators of the visual prognosis after treatment, but the prognostic value of other clinical background and treatment parameters is unknown.
Methods: The study reports predictors for visual outcome identified among retrospective clinical background data and treatment parameters from 4422 panretinal photocoagulation sessions for proliferative diabetic retinopathy in 1013 eyes of 601 patients performed at the Department of Ophthalmology, Århus University Hospital between 1985 and 2002.
Results: High pretreatment VA and low age were strong positive predictors of post-treatment VA (p < 0.0001). However, diabetes type, diabetes duration and calendar year of treatment showed no influence on post-treatment VA (p = 0.7829, 0.1782, and 0.3747, respectively). The visual prognosis was inversely related to the number of treatment sessions (p = 0.0259) and the number of vitrectomies (OR = 2.66 [1.24; 5.69], p = 0.0117, for more than two operations). However, the visual prognosis was unrelated to any of the other parameters studied.
Conclusions: Pretreatment VA, age and the number of panretinal photocoagulation treatment sessions and vitrectomies necessary to halt the disease are indicators of the visual prognosis after panretinal laser photocoagulation for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.