Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common microvascular complications of diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness in young adults. Oxidative stress has been implicated as a critical cause of DR. Metabolic abnormalities induced by high-glucose levels are involved in the development of DR and appear to be influenced by oxidative stress. The imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and the antioxidant defense system activates several oxidative stress-related mechanisms that promote the pathogenesis of DR. The damage caused by oxidative stress persists for a considerable time, even after the blood glucose concentration has returned to a normal level. Animal experiments have proved that the use of antioxidants is a beneficial therapeutic strategy for the treatment of DR, but more data are required from clinical trials. The aims of this review are to highlight the improvements to our understanding of the oxidative stress-related mechanisms underlying the development of DR and provide a summary of the main antioxidant therapy strategies used to treat the disease.