Diabetic eye screening has changed for people who are at lower risk of diabetic eye disease in England. If your last two diabetic eye screenings found no sign of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy), you may now be safely screened every 2 years instead of every year as following expert advice it is safe to do so.
People who are at a lower risk of diabetic eye disease will now start to be invited for screening every 2 years instead of every year.
Research shows that it is safe for people with no evidence of diabetic retinopathy on two consecutive screening occasions to be screened every 2 years.
This change has been recommended by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC). The changes have already been made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This change will help the NHS improve its service by reducing the number of appointments lower risk diabetics need to attend. Therefore, improving the service offered to them.
You are at lower risk diabetic eye disease if your last two diabetic eye screenings found no sign of diabetic eye disease.
Only people whose last two screenings found no sign of diabetic retinopathy will be screened every 2 years.
If the change does not apply to you now, this does not necessarily mean that you are at higher risk. Depending on the results of your future screening tests, you may be invited for screening every 2 years in the future.
If you are living with diabetes, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by:
You will be invited for screening every 2 years if:
No, the changes to screening intervals will be made gradually over a two-year period, starting from 1 October 2023. This is when people with diabetes will start to be informed of the change if they are eligible following their diabetic eye screening results.
If you are pregnant, you will be screened more often. This is because you may be at a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy during pregnancy. However, if you develop gestational diabetes you will not be screened.
Yes, the change applies whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
Yes, the change applies to anyone aged 12 or over whose last two screenings found no sign of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).
You will be invited for screening every 2 years as long as no changes are found at your diabetic eye screening appointments. If changes are found, you will be screened more often.
If you cannot make your screening appointment, let us know as soon as possible. We may be able to offer your appointment to someone else. You can call us to change the time, date and venue of your appointment.
Evidence shows that if no diabetic retinopathy is found, it is safe to be screened every 2 years.
If diabetic retinopathy does develop in the 2 years between your screening appointments, it will be found at an early stage, when you’ll have the best chance of successful treatment.
If you notice any changes to your eyesight, contact your local optometrist or optician straight away. Do not wait for your next screening appointment.
No. Diabetic eye screening is different from the eye tests you have with the optometrist. To keep your eyes healthy, it’s important that you see an optometrist or optician regularly as well as having diabetic eye screening.
The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is the independent scientific committee that makes screening recommendations to UK government ministers and the NHS. In 2016, the UK NSC recommended changing the screening interval from every year to every two years for people at low risk of diabetic eye disease. This was because a large study showed that it was safe to invite people in this lower risk group every two years rather than annually. The UK NSC’s recommendation was based on the evidence presented in this document: Extending diabetic eye screening intervals for people at low risk of developing sight threatening retinopathy: a consultation.
To begin with, we will invite you for screening every year. If your last two diabetic eye screenings found no sign of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy), we will be able to invite you every 2 years in future.