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Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in people aged 50 years and older in Hungary
  1. Gábor Tóth1,
  2. Dorottya Szabó1,
  3. Gábor L Sándor1,
  4. Irén Szalai1,
  5. Regina Lukács1,2,
  6. Anita Pék1,3,
  7. Georgina Z Tóth1,
  8. András Papp1,
  9. Zoltán Z Nagy1,
  10. Hans Limburg4,
  11. János Németh1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, Flór Ferenc Hospital, Kistarcsa, Hungary
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology, Petz Aladár Hospital, Győr, Hungary
  4. 4Health Information Services, Grootebroek, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr János Németh, Department of Ophthalmology, Semmelweis University, 1085 Üllői út 26. Budapest, Hungary; nemeth.janos{at}


Background/aims The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in the population aged 50 years and older in Hungary, and to assess the coverage of diabetic eye care services.

Methods In total, 105 clusters of 35 people aged 50 years or older were randomly selected. The standardised rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) with the diabetic retinopathy module (DRM) was used. Participants were classified as having DM if they were known to have DM or if their random blood glucose level was ≥200 mg/dL. Dilated fundus examination and Scottish DR grading were performed.

Results In total, 3523 (95.9%) out of 3675 eligible subjects were examined. And 705 (20.0%) out of 3523 had known (661) or newly diagnosed DM (44). Twenty per cent of participants with known DM had a blood glucose level ≥200 mg/dL, and 27.4% had never had an ophthalmological examination for DR. Prevalence of DR and/or maculopathy was 20.7% and prevalence of sight-threatening DR (STDR) was 4.3% in one or both eyes among participants with DM.

Conclusions Prevalence of DM was in line with findings of other RAAB+DRM surveys and slightly lower than the unpublished earlier age-matched Hungarian estimate. Prevalence of DR was slightly lower than expected. The prevalence of STDR was low in people aged 50 years and older in Hungary compared with the results of other RAAB with DRM surveys. DR screening coverage was low. To prevent severe complications of DM and possible concomitant visual loss, the coverage of ophthalmic examinations in patients with DM should be increased.

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  • Contributors GT, DS and GLS designed and conducted the survey. IS, RL, AP and GZT conducted the survey and analysed the data. AP and ZZN planned the survey and reviewed the manuscript. HL and JN designed the survey, edited and reviewed the manuscript. All authors agree with the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding Supported by SightFirst grant (grant number: SF 1825/UND) from Lions Clubs International Foundation, Oak Brook, Illinois, USA.

  • Disclaimer The funding organisation had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

  • Competing interests JN reported grants from LCIF SightFirst research grant. HL reported personal fees from Semmelweis University, Budapest, during the training for the study.

  • Patient consent Obtained. Participants with DM and/or DR requiring treatment were referred to general practitioner or ophthalmologist for further care.

  • Ethics approval The Regional and Institutional Committee of Science and Research Ethics of Semmelweis University (Budapest, Hungary) granted approval for this study. The research followed the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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