Skip to main content

About Diabetic Eye Screening

What is diabetic eye screening?

If you have diabetes, high blood sugar can damage the back of the eye (retina), which may affect your eyesight. Early changes to your retina can often go unnoticed, so we invite people with diabetes to come for eye screening. Everyone aged 12 or over who has diabetes and is registered with a GP or long-term care setting in Wales should be invited for this free NHS assessment.

About diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a condition that can affect anyone who has diabetes, regardless of the type or any treatment. It causes damage to the blood vessels supplying the back of the eye (the retina). 

Over time, high blood sugar can make the blood vessels leak or become blocked. If this is not treated, it can damage your eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy often has no obvious symptoms, so detecting it early can prevent further damage to your eyes. Lifestyle changes and treatment can stop it getting worse.

Why is diabetic eye screening important?

Attending diabetic eye screening is one of the steps you can take to look after your eyesight.

Screening is offered because:

  • diabetic retinopathy doesn't usually cause any symptoms in the early stages 
  • the condition can cause permanent blindness if not diagnosed and treated promptly 
  • screening can detect problems in your eyes before they start to affect your vision, and 
  • specialist assessment and treatment can slow or reverse changes caused by diabetic retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy?

The first (left) image shows an eye with healthy blood vessels at the back of the eye (the retina).


The second image on the right represents an eye that had diabetic retinopathy changes, with leaky blood vessels.


Discover more