Appointments

South east London diabetic eye screening

How to get an appointment

You'll be automatically referred if you're diagnosed with diabetes and registered with a GP in south east London. You should get an appointment within 3 months of your diagnosis, or registration with a GP in south east London. If it has been more than 6 months and you've not heard from us please contact us.

If you're pregnant and diagnosed with gestational diabetes, we do not need to see you.

If you're pregnant and have type 1 or 2 diabetes, your midwife or diabetes nurse or doctor should refer you to us. You'll be screened in your 1st trimester (or as soon as possible) and 2 to 3 times in total during your pregnancy. Please let us know if you are pregnant but have not had an extra appointment from us. 

Changing or cancelling your appointment

You can also change or cancel your appointment online if you have an online booking PIN in your appointment letter.

Before your appointment

Your appointment letter will tell you where to go when you arrive at the clinic. If you need more information, please contact us.

If you wear contact lenses you'll need to take them off when you get to your appointment. Please bring a container and some solution or wear your glasses to the appointment.

You may want to bring some sunglasses with you to wear home. The drops we put in your eyes can make everything look brighter.

Do not drive to your appointment. You won't be able to drive for at least 2 hours after your appointment. This is because we will put drops in your eyes which will make your vision blurry.

There may be limited seating in the waiting area, please try to limit the number of people who come with you to your appointment. Find more information on bringing someone with you in our visiting guidance page.

During your appointment

Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment time.

We do not have a reception area at all of our clinics. Sometimes we'll ask you to sit in the waiting area and our staff will come out to check if you've arrived. If you have been waiting for more than 15 minutes after your appointment time, please let someone working at the clinic know or call us.

Our screening technician will:

  • call you into a clinic room and check we have the correct details for you
  • ask you about your diabetes and your eyes
  • check your eyesight, with your glasses on if you wear them. This will take about 10 minutes
  • put some drops into your eyes. This makes your pupils bigger to let the camera take a fuller picture of the back of your eye

The drops can take about 20 minutes to work and we'll ask you to sit in the waiting area until they start working.

When we call you back in to have your eyes photographed, our screening technician will take  about 4 to 6 pictures of your eyes. This will take about 10 minutes.

We'll look at the pictures and let you know the results after your appointment.

After your appointment

We'll send you a letter 3 to 6 weeks after your appointment to explain your results. We'll also send the results to your GP. What you need to do next depends on your results.

No changes

If there are no changes in your eyes, we'll ask you to come to another screening appointment in 1 year.

Some diabetic changes

If your results show that there are some early or mild diabetic changes affecting your eyes we'll let you know. Improving your diabetes management can be important to stop the changes developing further.

We'll screen you again in 1 year, but it's important you have regular screenings to check if the changes have progressed.

We'll let your GP know, but you should also contact them to review your diabetes care plan.

Please read the Your guide to diabetic retinopathy leaflet on the GOV.UK website for more information. Visit the GOV.UK website to read the leaflet in other languages.

Some diabetic changes which need closer monitoring

If your results show moderate diabetic changes affecting your eyes we'll ask you to come back for another test and will check you more often. We may ask you to have an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan of your retina so we can check your eyes more closely.

If your most recent screening appointment indicated that you're likely to have a condition called diabetic maculopathy then we might ask you to have regular optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans.

This scan looks at the central part of the back of your eye, known as the macula, in more detail. It is very similar to having a photograph taken of the back of your eye, and is completely painless. 

You might need to have OCT scans every 6 to 12 months.

During your appointment

Your OCT appointment will be similar to your yearly screening appointment.

After your appointment

We'll post your results to you within 6 weeks of your appointment. 

We'll refer you to your local eye department if we think that fluid is building up in the back of your eye. An eye doctor will talk to you about your treatment options.

The OCT scan might show that your diabetic maculopathy is stable. This means that fluid is not building up in the back of your eye and you do not need treatment at this stage. However, it is still important that we monitor your eyes closely. We'll ask you to come back for another scan in 6 to 12 months.

It might show that your diabetic maculopathy has resolved. This can happen if your blood sugars improve. In this case, you will be invited back in 12 months for your routine screening.

Visit the NHS website for more information about:

Visiting your optician

It's still important that you see your optician at least every 2 years to monitor the general health of your eyes.

If you notice any changes in vision between your OCT monitoring appointments, please make an appointment to see your optician. If you think it's urgent you can go to your nearest eye emergency department.

Significant diabetic changes

If your results show there are significant diabetic changes affecting your eyes we'll refer you to a specialist eye doctor assessment. This will be as an outpatient at the hospital closest to where your screening was.

Your outpatient appointment could be at:

  • St Thomas' Hospital
  • King's College Hospital
  • Lewisham Hospital
  • Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup
  • Orpington Hospital

Please read the Closer monitoring and treatment for diabetic retinopathy leaflet on the GOV.UK website for more information. Visit the GOV.UK website to read the leaflet in other languages.

If you have any questions after you’ve got your results letter, please contact us.

Contact us

For more information, please contact us.

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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