History of Diabetic Retinopathy Research


Dr. Matthew Davis headshot

  • Diabetic Retinopathy Study (DRS)

Dr. Matthew Davis began the Diabetic Reinopathy Study in 1971 which established scatter laser photocoagulation as the standard therapy for diabetic eye disease.  This was the basis for the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) beginning in 1985.


  • Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic RetinopathyDrs. Barbara and Ronald Klein headshotwisconsin epidemiologic study of diabetic retinopathy logo

This study, headed by Drs. Barbara and Ronald Klein sought to describe the frequency and incidence of complications associated with diabetes across an eleven-county area in southern Wisconsin.  Click here for a full description of the study.


  • Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS)back of eye imaged through panretinal photocoagulation laser

The Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study was a multi-center, randomized clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of laser treatments in patients with early diabetic eye disease.  This treatment reduced the progression of retinopathy in majority of patients.  The UW Madison Fundus Photograph Reading Center played a key role in grading images and angiographs.


Beaver Dam Eye Study

This study followed a group of people from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin throughout their adult life to collect the prevalence and incidence of common eye diseases in an aging population.  Find more information about this study here.


Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net)diabetic retinopathy clinical research network logo

DRCR Network is dedicated to facilitating multicenter research of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases.  The UW Madison Fundus Photograph Reading Center and the Retina Research Group are a part of this network.  Find more information on the public web site here.