People living with diabetes should have eye screening as part of their diabetes checks. This is because diabetes can lead to eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease).

The appointment involves the screening team asking some questions relating to your eye sight and you will be asked to do an eye test. Eye drops will then be administered to your eyes, this is to dilate your pupils so that detailed photographs can be taken of the back of your eyes.

Diabetic eye screening is changing for people who are at lower risk of diabetic retinopathy.

The National Diabetic Eye Screening Programme has been researching extended intervals between screening appointments for a number of years.

Evidence shows that if no signs of diabetic retinopathy are found, it is safe to be screened every 2 years. This change has been recommended by the UK National Screening Committee. It has already been made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

People eligible for diabetic eye screening who have had two consecutive eye screens, showing no signs of diabetic retinopathy, will start to be offered screening every 2 years. Anyone at higher risk of diabetic retinopathy will continue to receive more regular screening.

Each time you attend, your results will determine the timescale that you need to return and you will be notified with each results letter.

You do not need to do anything different for this. You will be sent a letter when are you due for screening, for you to then contact the service to book a convenient appointment.

Link to information about appointments

Before your appointment

Do not drive to or from your appointment. Your eye sight will be blurry for a few hours afterwards. We recommend that you arrange for someone to come with you or that you are collected from your appointment.

What to bring:

  • all the glasses and contact lenses you wear
  • your contact lens solution
  • sunglasses to wear after the test

Your appointment will last about 40 minutes. It will begin with a sight test, during which you’ll be asked to read some letters from a chart while sitting down. We’ll then put some drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. These might sting for a few seconds.

When the drops start working, you’ll be asked to look into a camera. Pictures will be taken of the back of your eyes. You’ll see a bright flash when the picture is taken.

Your results will be sent to you and your doctor within 6 weeks. If you do not receive your results letter within 6 weeks, contact your GP.

Go back to where you had the test or go to A&E if:

  • your eyes become very painful
  • your eyes turn red
  • your sight is still blurry after 6 hours

These side effects are rare but need to be checked quickly.

Cumbria Diabetic Eye Screening Programme
102 Dalton Lane
Furness General Hospital
Barrow in Furness
LA14 4LF

0345 0500 109



Link to information for Diabetic Eye Clinics

Click on this link for a map to clinics