Diabetic Retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy?

This condition occurs when diabetes affects small blood vessels, damaging the part of the eye called the retina. It can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked. This can affect your sight. Eye screening is a key part of your diabetes care. Untreated diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight.

What happens during a Screening?

You cannot drive to this appointment, so the screener will ask if driving is necessary within the next 3-6 hours. Relevant information will be taken in regard to any recent hospital appointments, any previous eye treatments or operations etc. You will then have your visual acuities measured (reading the chart). This will be done one eye at a time to be noted on the Diabetic system to monitor any deterioration or changes of vision in either eye which could be related to Diabetes.

During your screening we will put drops in your eyes to temporarily make your pupils larger. You may find the drops sting. The drops take 20 minutes to take effect before photographs will be taken.

Photographs are then taken of the back of your eyes (retina). The camera does not come into contact with your eyes. The screener then analyses any possible problems which may need further investigations at the hospital and triages them to the appropriate departments, in most cases further hospital appointments will not be necessary. We send the photographs to an expert to be reviewed and compared back to existing images (past photo’s). The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes. A letter is forwarded to your GP and yourself within 6 weeks letting you know your screening results.

Please note that diabetic eye screening is not covered as part of your normal eye examination with an optician. Screening does not look for other eye conditions and you should continue to visit your optician regularly for an eye examination as well.