The diabetes eye screening service offers everyone with diabetes the opportunity to be screened for eye disease using an assessment of vision, and photographs of the back of the eye (the retina) with a digital camera. This will not pick up every single case of diabetes-related eye disease, but will pick up the great majority of cases – as with all other screening programmes.
Each year we discover sight-threatening eye disease in about three thousand local people and arrange for treatment, with the aim of preventing deterioration in vision.
The eye screening programme aims to pick up eye damage at a stage when treatment has the best chance of working: treatment at this stage is effective at reducing loss of sight due to diabetes. Treatment is often needed well before the diabetes has had any effect on vision. Diabetes does not usually affect your eyesight until the changes are quite far gone. This is why screening is important.
Good control of your diabetes and of your blood pressure reduce the risk of developing eye disease due to diabetes. Our diabetes eye screening service is part of the National Diabetic Eye Screening Programme for Diabetic Retinopathy.
Diabetes eye screening is designed to pick up diabetes-related problems, but not other eye disorders. It does not replace getting your eyes checked at an annual visit to your optometrist (optician).
Who should have diabetes eye screening?
Anyone with diabetes aged 12 or older should have their eyes screened for diabetes-related eye disease once a year. Screening is done more often during pregnancy.