Diabetic retinopathy screening (DRS) is a test to check if the small blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye) have leaked or become blocked.
This screening test is for only for people with diabetes.
Around 1 in 25 people that have the test will be referred to an eye specialist for investigation or treatment.
DRS screening has resumed in Scotland. However, it will take some time to fully restore the service and there are a number of new measures in place to keep you and our staff safe.
While the DRS programme resumes, it’s important to be symptom aware. Phone your GP practice, diabetes specialist or optician if you have diabetes and notice any changes to your sight.
Signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy screening during coronavirus
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells in the retina.
Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness or serious damage to your eyesight.
Who might develop DRS?
There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy so you may not realise that you have it.
If you have diabetes, there are a number of factors for developing diabetic retinopathy, including:
- the length of time you have had diabetes
- having a high blood glucose level
- having high blood pressure
More about the causes of diabetic retinopathy
Reducing the chances of DRS
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 have a problem with your sight
- taking your medication as prescribed
- attending your DRS appointments
Who'll be screened?
In Scotland, DRS is offered every year to anyone aged 12 and over with diabetes.
300,000 people in Scotland have diabetes. 264,000 of these are eligible for DRS every year.
What does it involve?
To find out if you have diabetic retinopathy, a health professional will take photographs of the back of your eyes.
The test usually takes 10 minutes, but can take up to 30 minutes if eye drops are used.
Your screening invitation
The DRS test is done at different locations across Scotland. You might have the test at your GP surgery or optometrists.
Where you have the test will depend on your health board. They'll 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 you'd like to bring a friend, or arrange for an interpreter, mention this when making your appointment.