Since its discovery in the 1940s, retinal photocoagulation has evolved immensely. Although the first photocoagulators utilised incandescent light, it was the invention of laser that instigated the widespread use of photocoagulation for treatment of retinal diseases. Laser permits choice of electromagnetic wavelength in addition to temporal delivery methods such as continuous and micropulse modes. These variables are crucial for accurate targeting of retinal tissue and prevention of detrimental side effects such as central blind spots. Laser photocoagulation is the mainstay of treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy amongst many other retinal conditions. Considering the escalating prevalence of diabetes mellitus, it is important for physicians to grasp the basic principles and be aware of new developments in retinal laser therapy.