Benefits of diabetic eye screening
- Screening helps reduce the risk of sight loss by looking for a condition that is treatable.
- Diabetic eye screening is one of the 15 essential healthcare checks identified by Diabetes UK.
- Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in people of working age in England and Wales.
Limitations of diabetic eye screening
- Eye screening can find retinopathy at an early stage but does not stop it from developing.
- Screening for diabetic retinopathy is not 100% accurate. On rare occasions, the screening can sometimes miss changes that could damage eyesight, although everything possible is done to reduce the risk of this happening. The eye drops used during screening may cause some discomfort for a few seconds, and your sight will be blurred for approximately four to six hours afterwards. Very rarely the drops can cause other side effects - click here for more information.
How accurate is diabetic screening?
Diabetic eye screening will identify eye changes in more than 19 out of 20 people with retinopathy. If these changes are detected in time, treatment is very effective at preventing sight loss for the majority of people.
Around 1 in 50 people who have screening will be referred to an eye specialist for investigation or treatment.
It is your choice whether or not to attend a screening appointment. If you do not want to attend, you should discuss this with your GP or diabetes team. If you opt out of the screening programme, you will not receive a screening invitation for the next three years. After then you will automatically be invited again. You can opt back into the screening programme at any time by contacting us.
Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy