All people with diabetes are at risk of getting diabetic retinopathy, caused when diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that acts like a film in a camera.
It is the most common cause of sight loss in people of working age.
Screening is an effective way of detecting the condition as early as possible. All people aged 12 and over with diabetes (type 1 and 2), except those already under the care of a specialist eye doctor, are offered appointments to be screened every year.
It is important to attend the screening appointment because:
- The disease progresses over a period of time and may not cause symptoms until it is close to affecting a person’s sight.
- Screening means diabetic retinopathy can be detected as early as possible.
- Treatment is most effective when the disease is detected early.
- The disease can cause blindness – but this can be prevented with regular and early screening.
It is important not to confuse your screening appointment with the general eye tests you have with your optician. Screening doesn’t replace your regular eye examinations and it is important to attend both.
For further information on diabetic eye screening and how diabetic retinopathy is treated visit the NHS diabetic eye screening website.
Last updated: 22 September 2013