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About Diabetic RetinaScreen

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. You can get diabetic retinopathy if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

It is caused by high blood glucose levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause vision loss if it is not diagnosed and treated.

Around 1 in 20 people with diabetes are at risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

Who diabetic retina screening is for

The Diabetic RetinaScreen programme is for people in Ireland with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, age 12 years and older.

The screening programme is free of charge for everyone with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Why get diabetic retina screening

Screening is a way of finding any changes to the small blood vessels in the lining of the retina. Screening can find and treat retinopathy early. It involves having a photo taken of your eyes with a digital camera.

When retinopathy is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight.

The longer you have had diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.

When screening takes place

For most people, diabetic retina screening is once a year.

If you have had no retinopathy in your last 2 screenings, your next screening will be in 2 years' time.

Digital surveillance eye screening is where your eyes are monitored more than once a year, but you do not need treatment.

Digital surveillance screening

Register for diabetic retina screening

To register, you can fill in a registration form online. You will need to print this form out and have it signed by your GP.

You can also ask your GP, practice nurse, dietitian or eye doctor to register you.

Register for diabetic retina screening

Your diabetic retina screening appointment

When you have given us your consent, we will send you an invitation to attend a screening appointment at your local screening centre.

Your appointment

Limitations of retina screening

Like all screening, diabetic retinopathy screening is not 100% reliable.

Screening looks for diabetic retinopathy. It may not find other eye conditions. You should still go to your regular eye exam.

If you notice changes to your vision

Non-urgent advice: Get medical advice if:

you have eyesight problems between screening appointments.

These changes could include:

  • sudden vision loss
  • a deterioration in your vision

Do not wait until your next screening appointment.

Managing your diabetes

The choices that you make every day can have a huge impact on your health with diabetes.

Eating well, being active and managing your weight are important treatments for diabetes. They can help you manage your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Page last reviewed: 27 May 2024
Next review due: 27 May 2027