AIM To evaluate the effect of the platelet indices on the stage of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME). METHODS In this retrospective study, the mean platelet valume (MPV), Plateletcrit (PCT), platelet (PLT), and platelet distribution width (PDW) of 199 diabetic patients and 76 healthy subjects were enrolled. The participants were divided into four groups. The first group was healthy control; the second group consisted of diabetic patients without DR; the third group was nonproliferative DR (NPDR); and the fourth group was proliferative DR (PDR). RESULTS Significant differences were found only in MPV and PCT values between patients with diabetes and healthy participants (8.6±0.96 fL vs 8.32±0.9 fL, P=0.011, 0.216± 0.58 vs 0.202±0.52, P=0.038). Comparing the groups, a statistically significant difference in MPV values was found between groups 4 and 1 (8.91±.7 fL vs 8.32±0.9 fL P=0.001) and between groups 4 and 3 (8.91±.7 fL vs 8.42±0.9 fL P=0.014). The MPV values of patients with DME were significantly higher than those of diabetic patients without DME (8.87±0.80 fL vs 8.45±0.97 fL). CONCLUSION High MPV values may be an important risk factor for the development of PDR and DME in patients with diabetic retinopathy.