The biochemical perturbations in diabetes mellitus (DM) create the conditions for the production of free radicals, the consequence of which is increased oxidative stress. Evidence has accrued over the past 2 decades that suggests that oxidative stress is an important pathogenetic factor in the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Experimental data show that the use of strategies that ameliorate oxidative stress can prevent and retard the development of DR in the animal model. Clinical observations also suggest that reducing oxidative stress may help to reverse pathological manifestations of DR. The present article constitutes an examination of the role of antioxidants in the management of DR and the current state of clinically relevant knowledge.