To analyze the intellectual structure and recent research trends in diabetic retinopathy (DR) and unearth potential knowledge.
English DR publication included in this study was exported from the Web of Science Core Collection, and Chinese DR publication was exported from China National Knowledge Infrastructure from the establishment time of the database to 2019. CiteSpace and Microsoft Excel were used to visually analyze DR research, including analysis of the number of publications, highly cited publication analysis, spatial distribution analysis, and keyword co-occurrence analysis.
A total of 23 795 English studies and 11 577 Chinese studies, including 2089 studies related to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), were obtained. The data suggested the following: 1) The number of English and Chinese DR publications increased over time, and the growth rate of English publications was relatively fast. 2) The distribution of international scholars and institutions was close, while the distribution was scattered in China. Shanghai Jiao Tong University has the largest number of publications. Tien-Yin Wong was the core author with the largest number of publications. England and the United States are the core of international DR research cooperation. 3) Optical coherence tomography and risk factors are recent international research hot spots and trends. The difference is that TCM is a recent research trend under DR in China.
DR has drawn an increasing amount of attention worldwide. The focus of research in this field has shifted from tertiary type DR treatment to secondary prevention strategies which focus on the screening and monitoring of disease progression. The advantages of TCM in the prevention of DR have attracted attention, and it is worth incorporating this with Western medicine to address this challenge.

International Journal of Ophthalmology Press.