AIMS--This study aimed to investigate whether diode laser irradiation, which is poorly absorbed by haemoglobin, can induce closure of leaking retinal microvascular lesions in the treatment of diabetic macular oedema. METHODS--Thirty three eyes with clinically significant diabetic macular oedema were treated with a diode laser. Fundus evaluation before and after treatment included visual acuity, stereoscopic biomicroscopy, colour photographs, and fluorescein angiography. RESULTS--At a mean period of review of 6 months macular oedema had completely or partially resolved in 27 eyes. Visual acuity improved in three, deteriorated in one, and was unchanged in 29 eyes. CONCLUSION--Preliminary data suggest that diode laser therapy induces closure of leaking retinal microaneurysms and is effective in the treatment of diabetic macular oedema.