Abstract Hyperlipidemia is correlated with a series of health problems. Notably, aside from its established role in promoting cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, hyperlipidemia has also been considered for modulating the risk and the severity of multiple metabolic disorders. According to the results of epidemiologic investigations, several certain circulating lipoprotein species are correlated with the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy, suggesting that the physiological and pathological role of these lipoproteins is analogous to that observed in cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, the lipid-lowering treatments, particularly using statin and fibrate, have been demonstrated to ameliorate diabetic retinopathy. Thereby, current focus is shifting towards implementing the protective strategies of diabetic retinopathy and elucidating the potential underlying mechanisms. However, it is worth noting that the relationship between major serum cholesterol species and the development of diabetic retinopathy, published by other studies, was inconsistent and overall modest, revealing the relationship is still not clarified. In this review, the current understanding of hyperlipidemia in pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy was summarized and the novel insights into the potential mechanisms whereby hyperlipidemia modulates diabetic retinopathy were put forward.