Diabetic retinopathy screening (DRS)

A woman being screened for diabetic retinopathy

The diabetic retinopathy screening (DRS) section explains what diabetic retinopathy is and why it's important for people with diabetes to have the screening test.

It also has information on how to reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy and links to further information.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

This condition occurs when diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the retina, which is at the back of the eye. The blood vessels in the retina can leak or become blocked.

This condition may cause blindness or serious damage to your eyesight. In its early stages there are no symptoms so you may not realise that you have diabetic retinopathy.

For further information on symptoms and signs to look out for, see our diabetic retinopathy Health A-Z article.

Why should I be screened?

Iyou have diabetes then screening is important because your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. Screening is a key part of your diabetes care and can reduce that risk by detecting the condition early, before you notice any changes to your sight.

Untreated diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of sight loss in people of working age. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight.

How often will I be offered screening?

Screening is offered every year to anyone with diabetes aged 12 and over.

Will I still need to have a regular eye test at the optometrists?

Yes, you need to do both. You should continue to visit your optician regularly for a free eye check as well.

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Last updated: 15 October 2014