Background: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of krypton laser membranotomy. Methods: Eleven patients (12 eyes) with premacular hemorrhage were enrolled from April 1998 to November 2002. The causes of premacular hemorrhage were proliferative diabetic retinopathy (7 patients, 8 eyes), Valsalva retinopathy (3 patients) and leukemia (1 eye). Krypton laser was used to create a membranotomy on the sloping edge of the premacular hemorrhage. Five eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy were treated with inferior panretinal photocoagulation and laser membranotomy simultaneously. After intravitreal dispersion of premacular blood, fundus examinations were performed in all eyes and fluorescein angiography in 5 patients to evaluate the retinal damage. Results: Vision was improved within 2 weeks after surgery in all eyes with premacular hemorrhage, which received krypton laser membranotomy. No retinal damage was seen at the site of membranotomy. No eye needed vitrectomy postoperatively during the follow-up (mean, 17 months). Conclusion: Krypton laser membranotomy appears to be a safe and simple alternative procedure for treating selected cases of premacular hemorrhage. Further trials are necessary to evaluate its benefit.