If you are eligible for a screening test you will receive a letter from the NHS inviting you to attend your local Diabetic Eye Screening centre for an appointment.
Diabetic retinopathy can affect anyone who has diabetes, whether they are being treated with insulin, tablets or diet only. Generally retinopathy has no obvious symptoms until it is well advanced. This is why annual eye examinations are so important for everyone with diabetes. Early detection is the key to successful treatment. Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels supplying the retina. If the blood vessels become blocked or leak this can damage the vision if left untreated.
The best defence against retinopathy is to have yearly eye examinations along with your annual diabetic screening review. During your Diabetic screening the Optometrist will dilate (widen) your pupils using special eye drops, this will allow a clear view of the retina. A photograph of the back of your eye will be taken using a digital fundus camera. The images will then be sent to the Diabetic centre, and from there a report will be sent to your GP.
The drops used to dilate your eyes can sting slightly and may be uncomfortable. Your vision can be affected with the drops and may affect some patients more than others. If you find your vision is affected it is advised to avoid driving for a few hours post screening.