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Diabetic Eye Screening Programme

What we do

Everyone over the age of 12 diagnosed with diabetes will be offered a diabetic eye check every year at your local screening programme, unless you are already under the care of an eye hospital service for your diabetic eye care.

Early detection and treatment is proven to prevent damage to your eyesight.  Thanks to the screening and early treatment for the eyes, diabetes is no longer the leading cause of sight loss in the working population in the UK.

Booking your appointment

A referral will be made to the Diabetic Eye Screening programme by a GP, diabetic health professional, eye hospital or midwife.

The eye screening department will then add you to the Diabetic Eye Screening Register and send you an appointment. This will include the location, date and time.

You will be asked to bring your appointment letter and distance glasses, as we will be testing each eye for distance vision. Also sunglasses, because when you are finished with the appointment your eyesight will be blurred and sensitive to light.

If you use a wheelchair or have difficulty walking or are housebound, we will ask you to arrange transport, whether it’s hospital transport, a carer or a family member.

We do not advise driving after the appointment as your eye sight will be blurred.  Please ensure you have alternative means of transport.

Contact us prior to your appointment if the one of the following applies:

  • If you need to cancel or rearrange your appointment
  • You need hospital transport service
  • You need an escort from a care/nursing home
  • You need an interpreter, or sign language service.
  • You had a reaction to the dilating drops at your previous appointment.
  • You are pregnant (as you will need to be screened more frequently)

Clinic locations

Our clinics are located at the following hospitals, health centres and surgeries:

Preparing for your appointment

Please bring your appointment letter with you to check the location, date and time. We also need you to bring your distance/television glasses/contact lens and solution if you use them. It would be useful to bring your sunglasses too for when you leave as your eyes will be sensitive to the light.

During COVID 19 period you will need to:

  •  Not attend if you have a high temperature, loss of smell or taste, or a new continuous cough
  • Sanitise your hands on entry
  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Come alone so we can better manage social distancing
  • Don’t be early or late, please be on time so we can manage the number of people

Please let us know if any of the following apply for you:

  • You require a translation service or a signing service
  • You are pregnant (as you will need to be screened more frequently)
  • You have any special requirements or constraints
  • If you are in a wheelchair – we might need to allow extra time ( If you can get an escort or carer to accompany you that would be helpful)
  • If you had a bad reaction to the eye drops when you were last screened

At your screening appointment

Please watch this video for a simple guide to screening.

At the appointment you will have your vision tested. This involves reading a chart with your prescription glasses for tv or driving (if you need to wear these).

Next we will put dilating drops in your eyes. These sting a little but this only lasts a few seconds. You will then be asked to sit back in the waiting area for 20 minutes. During this time your vision will usually start to blur and  this can last for up to 6 hours so that is why it is important not to drive to your appointment as your vision will be impaired and unsafe to drive.

The screener will call you back and you will be asked to put your head forward and place your chin on a rest in front of the camera. Sometimes some people need extra drops as the pupils have not enlarged enough. More drops will be applied and a further 20-30 minute wait will be required. The camera does not come into contact with your eye. We then ask you to keep your head still and just follow  a little flashing light. We usually only need 4 photographs but occasionally need to obtain more so we have clear views of the retina.

Usually this whole process takes 30-40 minutes.

Your results will be sent to you in 2-6 weeks and your GP will get a copy of this result.

You will automatically be sent an appointment for the following year nearer to the time.

Getting your results

Possible screening results are:

  1. No retinopathy
  2. Background retinopathy
  3. Degrees of referable retinopathy (routine or urgent)

If the images are not clear enough to be graded, (e.g. a cataract) you would be sent to another location that has a different method of testing called a Slit Lamp Bio-microscopy.

The grading classifications

Your images will be sent to be graded and classified using the following terms:

Further Information

Please see the links below for other information that may be useful:

Read some of our Diabetic Eye Screening Frequently Asked Questions.


We welcome your feedback.  This allows us to adapt and develop your screening programme to suit the needs of the population.

You can provide feedback through the following ways:


Telephone: 01273 664425


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