adult screening programme

Diabetic retinopathy

Damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina in the back of the eye is called retinopathy. This is more common in people with diabetes. Damage to these vessels causes blood to leak (haemorrhage) in to the retina or other parts of the eye. This can seriously affect your vision and may cause blindness.

Read more about diabetic retinopathy on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in December 2016.

Screening for this condition is recommended.

The UK NSC recommends screening for diabetic retinopathy. This is based on an HTA review on the value of digital imaging in diabetic retinopathy, which found that digital imaging is an effective method for finding diabetic retinopathy.

In 2016 the UK NSC recommended changing the screening interval from every year to every 2 years for people at low risk of sight loss. This was because:

  • a large study showed that it was safe to invite people in this low risk group every 2 years rather than annually
  • making this change will release capacity in the NHS and lessen the inconvenience for this group of attending appointments every year

Changes to the diabetic eye screening programme

The UK NSC considers changes to screening programmes when there is strong evidence that they could improve outcomes. See our current and past proposals to modify the diabetic eye screening programme.

Supporting documents from the 2016 review

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses diabetic retinopathy (2015)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Other supporting documents

Screening around the UK

The UK NSC recommends screening for this condition, however this may vary slightly depending on where you are in the UK.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2016

Next review estimated to be completed: 2023 to 2024.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Diabetic retinopathy

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.