The screening rate of diabetic retinopathy (DR) is low despite the importance of early diagnosis. We investigated the predictive value of dietary glutamic acid and aspartic acid for diagnosis of DR using the Korea National Diabetes Program cohort study. The 2067 patients with type 2 diabetes without DR were included. The baseline intakes of energy, glutamic acid and aspartic acid were assessed using a 3-day food records. The risk of DR incidence based on intake of glutamic acid and aspartic acid was analyzed. The DR group was older, and had higher HbA1c, longer DM duration, lower education level and income than non-DR group (all p < 0.05). The intake of total energy, glutamic acid and aspartic acid were lower in DR group than non-DR group (p = 0.010, p = 0.025 and p = 0.042, respectively). There was no difference in the risk of developing DR according to the intake of glutamic acid and ascorbic acid. But, aspartic acid intake had a negative correlation with PDR. Hence, the intake of glutamic acid and aspartic acid did not affect in DR incidence. However, lower aspartic acid intake affected the PDR incidence.