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The lateral current spreading (CS) effect on the efficiency droop in GaN-based LEDs has been studied in terms of the CS distance (LCS) using a designed pattern with the 2-D current spreading profile. The correlations of CS effect with the electrical, luminescent and electric-thermal properties of the LEDs have been discussed. LEDs with the LCS longer than the theoretically calculated effective CS length (Leff) suffer from more serious efficiency droop and the degradation of luminescent properties. However, the influence of CS effect on the ideality factors of LEDs is not obvious. Higher chip temperature caused by poor CS was observed and may further enlarge the efficiency droop.