Aims: To summarise the available findings from published research that has focussed on the effect of diet on retinal microvascular characteristics. 
Design: Systematic review.
Methods: A systematic Medline, EMBASE and PubMed search of relevant articles was conducted with coverage from the January 1, 1970 up to the January 10, 2013. Search terms were pilot tested for accuracy and modified. Articles were systematically excluded if the title and abstract were not relevant and full text manuscripts were obtained for all studies that were potentially relevant.
Results: After combining all searches, 5370 abstracts were identified and screened. Of  these 20 were considered potentially relevant and full articles were retrieved for further evaluation. Eleven of these studies did not meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria, leaving 9 studies to be included in the review.
Conclusions: To date, it has been suggested that a low glycemic Index (GI) diet, high dietary fibre intake and regular fish consumption attenuate retinal arteriolar narrowing and retinal venular widening which has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Conversely, it has been suggested that a high GI diet may predispose an individual to adverse retinal microvascular changes.