Diabetic Eye Screening is Changing

The UK National Screening Committee has recommended a change to how often people are invited for diabetic eye screening, based on their risk of sight loss.

This decision was made following scientific evidence which tells us that those at low risk of sight loss can be safely screened every two years.

Diabetic eye screening is an important part of your NHS diabetic care.  It looks for a condition called diabetic retinopathy which, if left untreated, may cause blindness or serious damage to the eyesight.

How often you’re screened from now on will depend on your previous screening results. 

  • If your last two screening results showed any signs of retinopathy, you’ll continue to be screened every year, or every 6 months.
  • If your last two screening tests found no retinopathy, you usually only need to be screened every two years, rather than every year.  This is because you’re at low risk of sight loss. 
  • If you’ve only been screening once before, you’ll be screened every year.  You’ll usually be moved over to two-yearly screening if you receive two screening results where no retinopathy is found. 

The screening test only looks for retinopathy, so it’s important that you still go for regular eye tests too.


When will my next appointment be?

The diabetic eye screening programme was paused in March 2020 due to COVID-19.  The programme has now resumed but the pause, together with the social distancing measures now required in clinics, means the programme is currently running approximately six months behind.  This, together with your previous screening results will have an impact on when your next screening appointment will be.

You’ll receive a letter inviting you for your next appointment.  Please be patient as NHS Scotland is working hard to get invitations sent out. While you wait for your screening appointment, it’s important to be symptom aware. Contact your optometrist if you notice any changes to your sight.

To find out more about diabetic eye screening and to watch the following video on what happens at your appointment, visit www.nhsinform.scot/des

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