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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Free screening checks to prevent sight loss

13 October 2022

​Islanders with diabetes are being urged to come forward to check if they are at risk of losing their sight to one of the leading – but largely preventable – causes of blindness in the developed world. 

To mark World Sight Day (Thursday 13 October), the Diabetic Retinal Screening team is reminding Islanders of the importance of being screened for diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes which affects the eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the top five causes of blindness and sight loss in both the working age population and developed world. There are about 4,500 Islanders with diabetes and the team carry out about 5,000 free screening checks, which involves taking a variety of 2D and 3D images of the back of the eye (retina) to look for diabetic changes, a year.

Improvements to the service, which began last year, means that the waiting list for retinal screening has been cleared and the team is now urging anyone who feels they should be screened to contact them by calling 01534 444590. The clinics are free and can be offered in Spanish, Portuguese and Polish.

Following the screening, if no diabetic changes are identified, the patient will be recalled for screening in 12 or 24 months’ time, dependent on their results.

However, if diabetic changes are found at the back of the eye, the patient will be referred to ophthalmology for treatment or kept within surveillance clinics in the screening service – which was only set up last year – for further checks to see if treatment is required.

Due to the creation of the surveillance clinic, the number of patients referred to ophthalmology has been cut by more than 90%. This has in turn helped to reduce waiting times in ophthalmology as diabetic patients are only referred into the department at the point of treatment.

Sarah Evans, General Manager at Health and Community Services, said: “We’ve made some really positive changes to our Retinal Screening programme and I’m pleased to say our waiting list has been cleared meaning we can see Islanders quickly.

“Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world, yet it is largely preventable. Regular screening can identify changes before you know they are happening and treat them before they become sight threatening. If you have friends or loved ones who are diabetic, please encourage them to attend and protect their sight. Remember that this test is not the same as an optician assessment so make sure you don’t miss out."

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