Diabetic eye screening is a test to check for a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This is when diabetes causes the small blood vessels in the retina (backs of the eyes) to leak or become blocked.
This screening test is offered to people aged 12 and over with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Diabetic eye screening only looks for retinopathy. It’s important to go for regular eye tests with your optician too.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition caused when high blood sugar levels damage the cells in the retina. This can happen if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause serious damage to your eyesight or blindness.
There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy so you may not realise that you have it.
Who might develop diabetic retinopathy
If you have diabetes, there are a number of factors for developing diabetic retinopathy, including:
- the length of time you've had diabetes
- a high blood glucose level
- high blood pressure
More about the causes of diabetic retinopathy
Reducing the chances of diabetic retinopathy
You can reduce the chance of developing diabetic retinopathy by:
- controlling your blood glucose levels
- getting your blood pressure checked regularly
- speaking to your optician if you've got a problem with your sight
- taking your medication as prescribed
- attending your diabetic eye screening appointments
Who'll be screened
In Scotland, diabetic eye screening is offered to people aged 12 and over with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
What happens at your appointment
A health professional will take photographs of the backs of your eyes to find out if you have diabetic retinopathy.
The test usually takes 10 minutes, but can take up to 30 minutes if eye drops are used.
Your screening invitation
The test is done at different locations across Scotland. You might have the test at your GP practice or optician.
Where you have the test will depend on where you live. Your health board will write to you to tell you where and when your test will be.
When you get your invitation, read the information carefully and decide whether you want to take the test.
If the date or time on the letter doesn't suit you, please phone the number on the letter to make a new appointment.
Due to physical distancing measures, go to your appointment alone unless you need help from a carer or family member. If you'd like to arrange for an interpreter, phone the number on the letter to arrange this before your appointment.