Aims: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of retinopathy prevalence in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 22 Arab countries. Methods: We systematically searched 4 different literature databases (PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science and Embase), from the date of inception until December 2017, to collect all the information about patients with T1D who developed retinopathy complications; for statistical analysis, we used MetaXL to evaluate the pooled prevalence estimate and the subgroup prevalence estimates employing double arcsine transformation and inverse variance heterogeneity models. Results: Our search strategy returned 475 studies, of which 39 met our inclusion criteria; of those, 16 were eligible for meta-analysis that were captured only in 15 Arab countries, through 45 years (1969–2014). The number of retinopathy patients was 396 out of 1,931 patients with T1D. The prevalence of retinopathy was 19% (95% CI 10–28%). Substantial heterogeneity was observed (Q 240.78, p < 0.0001, I2 93.77%, 95% CI 91.35–95.52%); however, no single study considerably affected the overall pooled prevalence estimate. Conclusion: Almost one fifth of T1D patients in 15 Arab countries have diabetic retinopathy, therefore it is important to improve the care of patients with T1D and in Arab countries to avoid the development of such a devastating complication.

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