Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a sight-threatening complication of both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. The recent success of treatments inhibiting the function of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) demonstrates that specific targeting of a growth factor responsible for vascular permeability and growth is an effective means of treating DR-associated vascular dysfunction, edema and angiogenesis. This has stimulated research of alternative therapeutic targets involved in the control of retinal vascular function. However, additional treatment options and preventative measures are still needed and these require a greater understanding of the pathological mechanisms leading to the disturbance of retinal tissue homeostasis in DR. Although severe DR can be treated as a vascular disease, abundant data suggests that inflammation is also occurring in the diabetic retina.Thus, anti-inflammatory therapies may also be useful for treatment and prevention of DR. Herein, the evidence for altered expression of angiogenic factors and cytokines in DR is reviewed and possible mechanisms by which the expression of VEGF and cytokines may be increased in the diabetic retina are examined. In addition, the potential role for microglial activation in diabetic retinal neuroinflammation is explored.