There are many reasons to suspect a genetic influence on the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy, including substantial variability in disease severity among patients with similar risk factors. Linkage studies have suggested associations with chromosomes 1, 3, 12 and others. The most studied individual genes are those encoding vascular endothelial growth factor, aldose reductase, and the receptor for advanced glycation end products, all of which have shown statistically significant associations in multiple series from various parts of the world. At this time, no definite genetic associations with diabetic retinopathy have been consistently reported. This may be due to small sample sizes, differences in study design, underlying genetic differences between study populations, or other factors. As we continue to collect data, these relationships may become more clear.