Managing diabetic retinopathyBMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5400 (Published 25 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5400
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Dear Sirs, the clinical review on managing diabetic retinopathathy
draws much needed attention for the need to improve the frequency of, and
adherence to retinal examinations. Given the increasing threat of
blindness, ethnicity is an additional consideration with respect to
diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment clinics.
Within the UK, rates
of diabetes are disconcerting amongst groups originating from the Indian
subcontinent . A susceptibility to glucose intolerance is evident in
both resident and migrant populations of South Asians from at least 25
years , underpinning excessive rates of microvascular and macrovascular
complications that afflict this group . Notably, two independent
studies have reported ethnic differences in rates of diabetic retinopathy
and retinal lesions, which occur earlier and at higher levels amongst
South Asian diabetics compared to Caucasian diabetics  . Altogether,
the burden of diabetes is particularly concentrated amongst South Asians
in the UK, who get the disease earlier, with a greater chance of
developing its associated complications. The implementation of screening
strategies for the early identification of glucose intolerance and its
complications in young South Asian populations is an opportunity to
deliver equity in healthcare to such groups in the UK.
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Competing interests: No competing interests