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UK retinopathy rate EU's highest

The rate of diagnosed retinopathy among patients with diabetes is up to twice as high in the UK as elsewhere in Europe, a new study reveals.

As many as 19.6 per cent of patients with diabetes in the

UK suffered from retinopathy, against only 11.4 per cent in France and 9.6 per cent in Spain.

The results are likely to reflect a historical lack of control of diabetes and highlight the importance of effective retinopathy screening, GPs said.

The UK also had a higher rate of the proliferative form of retinopathy than elsewhere in Europe, with 31.5 per cent of retinopathy sufferers affected, compared with 19.7 per cent in France.

The differences 'may reflect clinical practice of diabetes' concluded the researchers, from the RTI institute in Manchester.

Dr Colin Kenny, former chair of the Primary Care Diabetes Society and a GP in Dromore, County Down, said the rate of 20 per cent 'seemed high' and could in part reflect the UK's 'active and comprehensive population screening programme for people with diabetes'.

He added: 'Lack of control is a big factor.'

The study, presented at the ADA conference in Washington this week, analysed rates from a mean of 41 clinics or GP practices in France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

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