The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) recently introduced Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.
Diabetic RetinaScreen offers free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to all persons with diabetes aged 12 years and older. The programme aims to reach, over time, an estimated growing population of 190,000 people.
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes which affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye. This lining is called the retina. The retina helps to change what you see into messages that travel along the sight nerve to the brain. A healthy retina is necessary for good eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked and damage the sight.
Anybody with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic RetinaScreen has a list of people with diagnosed diabetes. This information came from national health schemes such as the Medical Card Scheme, Drugs Payment Scheme or Long Term Illness Scheme. In addition, family doctors (GPs) can register people with diabetes with the programme.
Diabetic RetinaScreen uses specialised digital photography to look for changes that could affect the sight. Regular eye screening can detect diabetic retinopathy before any changes to the sight.
Untreated diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of sight loss in people of working age. When caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to the sight.
It is expected that most people who take part in the programme will have a normal result. Diabetic RetinaScreen will provide any follow-up or further assessment to those who need it, free of charge, as part of the programme.
For more information on Diabetic RetinaScreen call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or visit www.diabeticretinascreen.ie