Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Screening:
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NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme:

The aim of the programme is to reduce the risk of sight loss amongst people with diabetes, by the prompt identification and effective
treatment if necessary of sight threatening Diabetic Retinopathy, at the appropriate stage during the disease process.

The Systematic Screening involves digital photography of the retina followed by a two, or three, stage image grading process to identify the changes of sight-threatening Diabetic Retinopathy in the retina.

All people aged 12 and over with diabetes Type1 and Type 2 are offered annual Screening appointments; the only exceptions are people with Diabetic eye disease who are already under the care of an ophthalmology specialist.

The Screening is provided in a variety of locations, including GP surgeries, hospitals and optician practices and the Screening test usually takes around 30 minutes.

Why should I be Screened?

1 - Screening is an effective way of detecting Diabetic Retinopathy as early as possible.
2 - Diabetic eye Screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss.
3 - As someone with diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from Diabetic Retinopathy.
4 - Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision.
5 - There may be no symptoms during the early stages of the disease but treatment is most effective when the disease is detected early.
6 - It is important not to confuse your Screening appointment with the general eye tests you have with your optician; Screening does not replace your regular eye examinations; it is important to attend both.

What is Screening?

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition; they can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition.

How should I prepare for Screening?

1 - Take all the glasses and contact lenses that you wear along with any lens solution for contacts.
2 - Take sunglasses with you to wear home, as your eyes can feel sensitive after the eye drops and everything may look very bright after the Screening test.
3 - Take a list of any medication you take.
4 - Arrange to use public transport or get a lift from a friend or family member for the journey home.
5 - You may want to Take someone with you to the appointment.
6 - Eye drops administered before Screening may affect your vision for a few hours, so you should not drive after your appointment.

At your appointment, Screening staff will:

1 - Explain the Screening process and record your details and level of sight.
2 - Administer eye drops to temporarily make your pupils larger so the retina can be seen more clearly; you may find that the eye drops may cause some stinging for a few seconds and blurred vision for between two to six hours after the test.
3 - Take digital photographs of your retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that acts rather like a film in a camera; the photographs are painless and the camera does not come into contact with your eyes.
4 - Send the photographs to an expert to review.

What if something is wrong?

An expert studies the photographs of your eyes after you have been screened; if there are any problems or more questions, you may be called back for another assessment; both you and your GP are sent a letter within 6 weeks letting you know your screening results.

You can help to reduce your risk of Diabetic Retinopathy if you:

1 - Control your blood glucose as effectively as possible.
2 - See your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure is not raised.
3 - Attend your Diabetic eye Screening appointments.
4 - Get advice if you have a problem with your sight.
5 - Take all of your your medication as prescribed.

Diabetes Related Information Leaflets


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