AIMS/BACKGROUND: Focal treatment of diabetic macular oedema is usually done using a haemoglobin absorbing wave-length, such as argon green laser. This study aimed to compare photocoagulation with argon green (514 nm) and krypton red (647 nm), which is poorly absorbed by haemoglobin, in the focal treatment of patients with diabetic exudative maculopathy. METHODS: A total of 151 eyes of 78 outpatients were assigned randomly to receive either argon green (n = 79) or krypton red (n = 72) laser treatment. Pretreatment and post-treatment ocular examinations included visual acuity, fundus biomicroscopic examination, and fluorescein angiography. A total of 141 eyes of 73 patients were available for evaluation after 1 year follow up. RESULTS: No statistically significant difference was found between the two treatment groups with respect to visual acuity results, resorption of hard exudates, and resolution of focal retinal oedema. CONCLUSION: Krypton red laser was effective in the treatment of diabetic exudative maculopathy. Our data suggest that differential absorption of the various wavelengths by haemoglobin within microaneurysms may not be an important factor for ultimate success of focal treatment.