Diabetic screening is a key part of diabetic care. People who have diabetes are at risk of a condition called Diabetic Retinopathy. This condition is caused when damage occurs over time to the small network of blood vessels at the back of the eye, which can cause blindness.
Diabetic screening is an eye check that happens every year in addition to your standard two yearly eye examination. As Diabetic Retinopathy does not display any symptoms, it is a vital way of checking for the condition before vision becomes impaired.
If the condition is found early enough then treatment can be given to stop it from becoming worse. Once symptoms become noticeable it is much harder to treat.
Everyone over the age of 12 who has diabetes will be offered a screening. It is very rare that someone under the age of 12 will have diabetic retinopathy.
What is Diabetic Screening
The screening usually takes about 30 minutes and involves an examination of the back of the eye and photos taken of the retina.
You will be given drops that will enlarge your pupils, helping the optometrist to examine the inside of the eye. The drops take around 15-20 minutes to take effect and can last for up to 6 hours. In this time your vision will become blurry which will mean that you can not drive home so it may be best to bring someone with you who can take you home after.
The photographers work like any normal camera which means that there will be a flash. You may find that a pair of sunglasses for after the appointment are appropriate as you may be a little light sensitive until the drops wear off.
How to book an appointment
The hospital will issue a letter to you when you are due a screening. You can then book an appointment at any one of our practices which offers the diabetic screening service. Currently our Selly Oak, Northfield and Rubery branches offer this diabetic screening.
You will need to bring all current glasses, contact Lenses and solutions with you to the appointment.
If you are experiencing any visual problems before your screening is due, like vision loss or deterioration then seek medical advice. Do not wait until your screening is due.
Within a 6 week period, both you and your GP will receive a letter explaining the results of the screening. The results do not come immediately as the photographs will need to be checked and examined by a number of experts to determine the results. The letter will clearly explain what the results are and what you will need to do next.