Background: Microvascular and macrovascular complications in diabetes stem from chronic hyperglycemia and are thought to have overlapping pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence rate of hospitalized myocardial infarctions (MI) and cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) compared with diabetic patients without retinal diseases. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of a commercially insured population in an administrative claims database. DME subjects (n = 3519) and diabetes controls without retinal disease (n = 10557) were matched by age and gender. Healthcare claims were analyzed for the study period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2005. Incidence and adjusted rate ratios of hospitalized MI and CVA events were then calculated.Results: The adjusted rate ratio for MI was 2.50 (95% CI: 1.83-3.41, p<0.001) for DME versus diabetes controls. Predictors of MI events were heart disease, history of acute MI, and prior use of antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs. The adjusted rate ratio for CVA was 1.98 (95% CI: 1.39-2.83, p<0.001) for DME versus diabetes controls. Predictors of CVA events were cardiac arrhythmia, Charlson comorbidity scores, history of CVA, hyperlipidemia, and other cerebrovascular diseases. Conclusion: Event rates of MI or CVA were higher in patients with DME than in diabetes controls. This study is one of few with sufficient sample size to accurately estimate the relationship between DME and cardiovascular outcomes.