Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in people of working age in the UK; however if it is detected early it can be easily treated. Diabetes can affect the small blood vessels in the part of your eye called the retina. This is known as diabetic retinopathy. Regular screening for diabetic retinopathy is essential to help prevent sight loss from diabetes.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy means changes to the retina (the seeing part at the back of the eye) and is a complication that can affect anyone with diabetes.
It is treatable, but may have no obvious symptoms, so you might not know you have it until it is well advanced. You can find lots more information about the condition on the NHS Choices diabetic retinopathy pages.
Screening for diabetic retinopathy
Guy’s and St Thomas’ provide the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme for people living in south east London. We screen the eyes of people with diabetes to detect the early stages of diabetic retinopathy using special digital cameras. Most people have no signs of diabetic changes but must be seen each year to ensure this remains the case.
If we do detect changes, we will refer you directly to see a specialist eye doctor at a local hospital.
There is a national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy and all people with diabetes should have their eyes screened regularly.
Screening takes place in several locations. See the clinics page for more information.
This is Danny. He has Type 1 diabetes. In this film Danny reminds us why it's important to have regular eye screenings.
- Diabetes UK website – information about diabetes and support available to people living with diabetes.