- Diabetic retinopathy is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes. In recent years, there is a dramatic increase in the number of diabetic patients in the Bedouin population in the Negev region. To analyze the clinical features and find out the incidence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy of type 2 diabetes patients in the Jewish and Bedouin populations. Data was collected from the files of 523 patients, who were examined by ophthalmologists at different clinics in southern Israel, and who were not previously diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy until that examination. All the data was analyzed by univariate analysis, and a multivariate model was built to predict the risk to develop diabetic retinopathy, separately for the Jewish and Bedouin population in the Negev. The average age was 64 +/- 10.3 years in the Jewish population and 58.6 +/- 12 years in the Bedouin population (P < 0.001). Treatment with insulin was administered to 14.5% of the Bedouin population, compared to 5.7% of the Jewish population (P < 0.001). Eye complications (diabetic retinopathy and/or maculopathy) were found in 13.4% of Jews, compared to 22% of Bedouins (P < 0.01). In the multivariate analysis we found 6 predicting factors for the development of diabetic retinopathy in the Jewish population: long duration of diabetes, older age, high HbA1c, insulin treatment, high levels of LDL and creatinine; and 4 predicting factors in the Bedouin population: long duration of diabetes, high HbA1c, insulin treatment and smoking. The Bedouin population in southern Israel suffers more from retinal diabetic complications compared to Jewish patients. Common risk factors for both populations are long duration of diabetes, high HbA1c and insulin treatment.