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This paper introduces an algorithm for the automated diagnosis of referable maculopathy in retinal images for diabetic retinopathy screening. Referable maculopathy is a potentially sight-threatening condition requiring immediate referral to an ophthalmologist from the screening service, and therefore accurate referral is extremely important. The algorithm uses a pipeline of detection and filtering of “peak points” with strong local contrast, segmentation of candidate lesions, extraction of features and classification by a multilayer perceptron. The optic nerve head and fovea are detected, so that the macula region can be identified and scanned. The algorithm is assessed against a reference standard database drawn from the Birmingham City Hospital (UK) diabetic retinopathy screening programme, against two possible modes of use: independent screening, and pre-filtering to reduce human screener workload.