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    How effective is panretinal photocoagulation? The Diabetic Retinopathy Study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, investigated the use of this technique for patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The 2-year risk of severe visual loss, defined as visual acuity of 5/200 or rose, decreased by more than half, from 26% to 11%. after 5 years, the risk of severe visual loss decreased from 50% to 26%.