Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most feared ocular manifestation of diabetes. DR is characterized by progressive retinal damage that may eventually result in blindness. Clinically, this blindness is caused by progressive damage to the retinal microvasculature, which leads to ischemia, retinal swelling, and neovascularization. Retinopathy is associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with DR being the leading cause of new onset blindness in United States adults. Despite this strong association with diabetes, it must be noted that the development of retinopathy lesions is multifactorial and may occur in individuals without an established history of diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a multifactorial condition of central obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, fasting hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance. Although several studies examined the individual components observed in the metabolic syndrome in relation to the development of DR, there is conflicting data as to the association of the metabolic syndrome with the development of retinopathy lesions in non-diabetic subjects. This review will summarize the current literature on the evidence of the metabolic syndrome on retinopathy in subjects with and without an established history of diabetes. This review will also discuss some of the mechanisms through which metabolic syndrome can contribute to the development of retinopathy.