What is Digital Diabetic Screening and Why is it so Important?
Diabetes can lead to a condition known as Diabetic Retinopathy, which is a condition that occurs when diabetes weakens the small blood vessels in the retina, which can in turn lead these blood vessels to leak or become blocked. This can damage your retina and lead to loss of vision. Untreated diabetic retinopathy is considered to be one of the leading causes of blindness in people of working age.
For this reason, digital screening is a key part of ones diabetes care. If you have diabetes and retinopathy occurs but is caught early, treatment is available to reduce or prevent damage to your sight. Please bear in mind that Digital Diabetic Screening is not part of your regular eye examination and does not look for other eye conditions; you should still have your annual sight tests separately.
What Happens During Digital Diabetic Screening?
A diabetic screening is a simple appointment that should take no longer than 30-45 minutes. We start by putting drops in your eyes to temporarily make your pupils larger. This effect can last a few hours so it is imperative that you do not drive on the day of your screening.
We will then take digital photographs of the back of your eyes using our specialist Fundus Digital Retinal camera, which will have increased levels of detail due to your pupils being dilated by the drops. These images will be then sent on to your Diabetic Centre for review, who will then send a letter to you and your GP within six weeks to inform you of the results. If any sign of diabetic retinopathy is found then your Diabetic Centre will give you a follow up appointment to decide if any further treatment is required.
What Do I Need to Think About on the Day?
Bring all glasses and/or contact lenses and solutions that you use with you to your screening appointment.
If you are usually sensitive to light, bring some sunglasses with you as your eyes may feel increased sensitivity to light afterwards due to the eye drops dilating your pupils - they will allow more light to pass through as a result.
You may want to bring someone with you to the appointment as your vision may be blurry for a few hours afterwards or until the eye drops wear off.
Please note that the eye drops may affect your vision, so it is imperative that you do not drive for a few hours after your appointment.
If you are due for your next Digital Diabetic Screening, or have just been diagnosed with Diabetes - either type I or II - you can call us to book your appointment. Please note that we will require a little extra information to make your booking, including contact details for yourself (or for the patient, if you are booking them on their behalf), NHS Number (which you can find on your hospital letter), your GP’s name and surgery address, and details for any prescription medication you may be taking.