© 2016 Olga Simó-Servat et al. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the main cause of working-age adult-onset blindness. The currently available treatments for DR are applicable only at advanced stages of the disease and are associated with significant adverse effects. In early stages of DR the only therapeutic strategy that physicians can offer is a tight control of the risk factors for DR. Therefore, new pharmacological treatments for these early stages of the disease are required. In order to develop therapeutic strategies for early stages of DR new diagnostic tools are urgently needed. In this regard, circulating biomarkers could be useful to detect early disease, to identify those diabetic patients most prone to progressive worsening who ought to be followed up more often and who could obtain the most benefit from these therapies, and to monitor the effectiveness of new drugs for DR before more advanced DR stages have been reached. Research of biomarkers for DR has been mainly based on the pathogenic mechanism involved in the development of DR (i.e., AGEs, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and proangiogenic factors). This review focuses on circulating biomarkers at both early and advanced stages that could be relevant for the prediction or detection of DR.