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Diabetic eye screening

Most of the eye problems caused by diabetes can be treated, but it is vital that these problems are picked up as soon as possible, as treatment is more effective when given early.

Having your eyes checked regularly and attending diabetic eye screening can pick up eye problems before it affects your sight.

This regular retinal screening is essential as you may not be aware that there is anything wrong with your eyes until it’s too late. Screening helps to prevent blindness in most of the people at risk.

You should also go for regular eye examinations with your optometrist (also known as an optician). Your diabetic eye screening test doesn’t replace your regular eye examination with your optometrist. Your diabetic retinal screening will only look for diabetic changes to the back of your eyes; your regular eye examination with your optometrist can check for other eye conditions, so it’s important to have both tests regularly.

What happens during a diabetic eye screening?

At this appointment, you’ll have eye drops put into your eyes to dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows for a good view of your retina. You’ll then have photographs taken of your retina using a digital retinal camera. You’ll see a flash when the photos are taken but the camera won’t touch your eye. You won’t get the results immediately as the photographs need to be studied by someone who is trained in identifying and grading retinopathy.

If your results show no retinopathy or some background retinopathy, you’ll normally be invited back for another retinal screening in a year. If your results show signs that retinopathy could affect your sight, you may be invited back for repeat retinal screening sooner than a year, or you may be referred to an ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor) at the hospital eye clinic for tests and possible treatment.