To assess the prevalence and risk factors for early and severe diabetic retinopathy and macular edema in a large cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes Retinopathy grading (any retinopathy, severe retinopathy, diabetic macular edema) and risk factors of 64784 were prospectively recorded between January 2000 and March 2013 and analyzed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and logistic regression. Retinopathy was present in 20.12% of subjects, maculopathy was found in 0.77%. HbA1c > 8%, microalbuminuria, hypertension, BMI > 35 kg/m2 and male sex were significantly associated with any retinopathy, while HbA1c and micro- and macroalbuminuria were the strongest risk predictors for severe retinopathy. Presence of macroalbuminuria increased the risk for DME by 177%. Retinopathy remains a significant clinical problem in patients with type 2 diabetes. Metabolic control and blood pressure are relevant factors amenable to treatment. Concomitant kidney disease identifies high risk patients and should be emphasized in interdisciplinary communication.