Skip to main content

Update on Diabetic Eye Screening

Published: 27 June 2023

Following a recommendation by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) in 2016, Public Health Wales is implementing a change to the Diabetic Eye Screening programme in Wales. 

The Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services agreed that Public Health Wales implement the change, which will see the screening interval for diabetic eye screening participants who are identified as being at low risk of diabetic retinopathy invited for screening every two years.

Dr Sharon Hillier, Director of Screening at Public Health Wales, said:

“This change is in-line with UK National Screening Committee and Wales Screening Committee recommendations. Evidence shows that it is safe for people with no diabetic eye disease to be screened every two years.

“People whose last two diabetic eye screenings found no sign of diabetic eye disease will be safely screened every two years instead of every year. Everyone else will be screened as usual.

“The change has already been implemented in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“This will enable services to see people at higher risk of diabetic eye disease sooner.”

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is the independent scientific committee that makes screening recommendations to UK ministers and the NHS.

In 2016, the committee recommended changing the screening interval from every year to every two years for people at low risk of diabetic eye disease. This followed a large study which showed that it was safe to invite people in this low risk group every two years rather than annually.

The Wales Screening Committee is the national advisory forum on health screening programmes. The committee considers recommendations from the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC).

People in Wales who are affected by the change are being notified by Screening Services, and screening service users do not need to take any action.