Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of blindness in the Western world and as there may not be any symptoms, it is very important that screening takes place.
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Who needs to be screened?
Anyone who has diabetes and is aged 12 or over should be screened. People with diabetes could be at risk of retinopathy (damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes causing them to bleed and leak fluid). Unless they are screened they may not know this is happening until it is too late and have some sight loss.
If you are a diabetic and are already under the Eye Department and regularly having your retina checked, then please let us know. We will of course see you once discharged from the hospital.
How do I get an appointment?
You don’t have to do anything, your GP or practice nurse will give us your details and we will invite you for your screening appointment.
What will happen at the appointment?
We will simply take some photographs of the back of your eyes. We will use eye drops to make your pupils larger, so that we get the best possible photographs.
You are advised not to drive for four hours following the eye drops, therefore it is essential that you make alternative arrangements for your journey home.
You will receive a leaflet – Your guide to diabetic eye screening – giving you more information about screening with your appointment letter.
What happens next?
Within six weeks you will receive your results after two trained and experienced graders have independently looked at your photographs.
If you have no diabetic retinopathy or background diabetic retinopathy, you will be screened on an annual basis. It is essential that you attend your diabetic reviews to ensure optimum control of your blood levels.
If diabetic retinopathy is detected, we will refer you for assessment or treatment with a specialist eye doctor at either Conquest Hospital or Eastbourne DGH, whichever is the closest to your home.
If diabetic retinopathy is found, you will receive – Your guide to Diabetic retinopathy – with your results letter.
Where will the appointment be?
We have screening clinics at the following locations:
- Bexhill Hospital
- Arthur Blackman Clinic, St Leonards
- Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital
- Princes Park Health Centre, Eastbourne
- Seaford Health Centre (mobile unit)
- Hailsham Health Centre
I attend my local optician, do I need to have screening?
You should continue to attend your opticians for general eye care and spectacles. Opticians are not part of a national screening programme, which is why your GP or practice nurse will refer you to us to ensure that you are recalled annually or directly referred to the hospital where the doctor can view your photographs immediately, thus enabling prompt assessment and treatment.
I am pregnant, do I need to have more regular screening?
Yes, you will be seen when we are notified of your pregnancy (unless you have been seen by us recently), but we will then see you again at 28 weeks of your pregnancy.
How do I contact you if I need to change my appointment?
The administration office for the programme is based at Bexhill Hospital
0300 131 4399
UK National Screening Programme for Diabetic Retinopathy (includes information on the quality assurance standards we have to adhere to).