5 October 2023

Changes to the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme in England

We explain the changes to the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme in England and provide support for your patients.

From 1 October 2023 the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme will start screening people with diabetes at lower risk of diabetic retinopathy every two years instead of every year. 

This change is based on a recommendation by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) following a large study showing it was safe and effective to adopt a two year interval for people at the lowest risk of retinopathy. 

Optometrists should continue to recommend sight test intervals based on a patients' clinical need, sight test intervals should not be reduced as a result of the change in the screening programme. This change is already in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Please see the video below, for optometrists, which explains the changes in the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme. 

To support optometrists communicate these changes to patients, we have created a patient facing video which provides a clear overview of the changes, ensuring that your patients are well-informed about the new screening schedule and its safety. The videos offers guidance and assurance regarding the adjustments to the screening program.

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