The future of diabetic retinopathy screening

Diabetes and its complications account for around 10% of the NHS budget and are projected to swallow up more. Léa Surugue asks what the future holds for national diabetic eye screening.

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As many as 4.7 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, of whom 90% have type 2, and one million are undiagnosed (Diabetes UK, 2019). This figure is on the rise in part because of more inactive lifestyles and unhealthier diets.

Until recently in the UK, diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic maculopathy were the leading causes of blindness in the working-age population. However, in 2014, researchers showed that diabetic eye disease had fallen from 17.7% of cases in 2000 to 14.4% in 2010, and concluded that inherited retinal disorders were the new leading cause of blindness in England and Wales (Liew et al, 2014).

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