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
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."