The Importance of Eye Screening
Why should I be screened?
Diabetic eye screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss. As someone with diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
This condition occurs when diabetes affects small blood vessels, damaging the part of the eye called the retina. It can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked. This can affect your sight.
Why is screening important?
Eye screening is a key part of your diabetes care. Untreated diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight. Remember, diabetic eye screening is not covered as part of your normal eye examination with an optician. Screening does not look for other eye conditions and you should continue to visit your optician regularly for an eye examination as well. You can visit the Government website for a brief description of diabetic eye screening.
Who needs diabetic eye screening?
The service invites all people with diabetes from age 12 years to attend for an annual diabetic eye screening test, and for those who need a more advanced examination, we provide a Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy, Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Digital Surveillance screenings. We also refer patient to local Hospital Treatment Centres if referable diabetic eye disease is detected during screening. If you are pregnant, you will need to be screened at certain intervals of your trimesters. Our screening service along with your midwifery team will advise you of these intervals.
Booking and Locations
If you have been provided with a unique PIN number in your invitation letter, you can book, cancel or rearrange online using the Diabetic Eye Screening Online Booking Service. Patients under advanced screening examinations which include digital surveillance, ocular coherence tomography and slit lamp biomicroscopy are not able to use this service and will need to contact us direct.
Diabetic Eye Screening Locations
Our screening locations are split into localities, as detailed below:
- North Staffordshire
- South Staffordshire
Below are PDF documents for each locations and what accessibility each location can offer along with some useful information for when you attend you appointments. You can also click here to view an Interactive Map of All Screening Locations.
If you are arranging Ambulance Service Transport (AST) to attend an examination please ensure you have been offered a morning screening appointment. If you have been given a afternoon appointment and require AST, please contact us to rearrange.
AST may not collect you for your return journey for over a 2 hour period so please ensure you have food/refreshments and any required medication with you.
AST contact numbers:
We do try to arrange screening locations so that they are accessible via public transport the best we can.
Should you require transport assistance, there may also be voluntary transport schemes in your area if you do not qualify for AST. Your local GP should be able to provide you information for these schemes. Also an online search for voluntary transport schemes could provide you this information for what is available in your locality.
The Diabetic Eye Screening Team
We have a dedicated team which includes a Clinical Lead, Andrew Brown (specialist doctor), a Clinical Manager, Senior Practitioners who see and assess patients in our specialist pathways along with Screeners and Graders who deliver the service for Staffordshire and Shropshire.
There is also a team of administrators composed of Diabetic Eye Screening (DES) Administrators, Hospital Eye Services (HES) Administrators, Patient Engagement & Communications Officers and also dedicated Service Managers.
The service in its entirety is overseen by our Programme Manager to ensure we offer a quality service delivering high standards of care throughout.
Slit Lamp Practitioners
Patient Engagement & Communications Officer
The Staffordshire and Shropshire Diabetic Eye Screening Service have both a Facebook page and Twitter account that you can access via the links below. We hope to share what new and exciting things we are getting up to as a service on there for everyone to see.
Diabetic Eye Screening Appointment Feedback
We would greatly appreciate any feedback you have on the service along with your experience from your recent diabetic eye screening appointment.
If you wish to submit feedback, you can do so with our Feedback Survey.
Please only submit feedback if you have recently attended a diabetic eye screening appointment with us.
What are 8 Care Processes?
MPFT is delivering a new service called "8 Care Processes" across Stoke-on-Trent for people with diabetes.
This service will be provided from within Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre.
8 Care Processes are checks completed for people living with diabetes to identify any health issues promptly and to avoid diabetes related complications.
8 checks are completed on patients including; blood sugars, blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function, urine, feet check, body mass index (BMI) and smoking.
Launched in August 2022 on a 12-month pilot, using Diabetes & COVID-19 recovery funding, the team seeks to:
- Implement an effective, integrated pathway (8 care processes and eye screening) for diabetic patients across Stoke-on-Trent
- Ensure that patients are identified through working with primary care and commissioners and screened promptly
- Increase the numbers of patients with diabetes (type one and two) accessing routine care processes and integrating this with eye screening
- Avoid diabetes related deterioration or complications
- Ensure people are supported to meet their treatment targets
- Ensure we have a workforce that is skilled to deliver the integrated model
The initiative is designed to put the patient at the heart of the delivery model, which is a new development. The service is also geared towards addressing health inequalities and ensuring those individuals with diabetes who don’t readily access healthcare services can undergo these checks.
Wherever possible, the service is looking to align the 8 Care Processes and Diabetic Eye Screenings.
Meet the team
Lead Nurse: Thandiwe Mpofu
Healthcare Support Workers: Leanne Wildig, Kayleigh Hodgkinson
How to contact us
Telephone: 0300 303 0887 (option 2)
What will happen at my screening appointment?
We will test your vision for any changes (this does not replace your eye sight test). We will insert drops into your eyes to make your pupils large and approximately 20 minutes later we will take photographs of the back of your eyes. Your appointment can take up to an hour. You should not drive until your pupils are back to normal, which can take up to 4-6 hours. It is advised to bring a pair of dark or tinted glasses for after the appointment as you are likely to be sensitive to bright light during this time. If you wear glasses please bring them with you to your appointment.
Will appointments be available evenings and weekends?
Evening and Saturday morning appointments are available in certain limited locations but not in all clinics. Our administration team can help you book these.
Can I have the screening done at home?
Diabetic eye screening and diabetic eye disease treatment require special equipment with is not portable and cannot be provided in people's homes.
Will I be reminded of my appointment?
All booked appointments will be send a confirmation letter via the post. We also offer SMS message reminders before appointments. To ensure you receive these, please make sure we have your up to date mobile telephone number so that they are not sent to old or inactive numbers.
How do I change my appointment if the time or venue is not suitable?
When you receive your appointment, if it is not suitable for you due to the time or location of the appointment, we are more than happy to help rearrange this to help accommodate you. You can contact us via telephone on 0300 303 0887. If you wish to do this online rather than telephone, there is an online booking service if you have been provided a unique PIN number or you can email us on Diabeticeye@mpft.nhs.uk.
Can I change my appointment online?
You can change your appointment via the Diabetic Eye Screening Online Booking Service if you have been issued with a unique PIN number in your appointment letter. Certain advanced examination screening appointments aren’t able to be rearranged or booked via the online service and if you need to reschedule or cancel you will have to contact us on 0300 303 0887 or via email.
Do I still need to visit my optician for eye tests?
Please note that you will still need to attend regularly for an eye test with an optician of your own choice for your general eye health needs and glasses prescription checks. You should attend a standard eye examination at least once every 2 years with your optician.
Will you review clinic locations in future?
We will be continually assessing uptake and capacity rates to ensure that clinic locations are accessible and meet everyone’s needs to the best of our capability.
Will there be any improvements to services?
The service has recently invested in Mobile Screening Vans that we are using in locations all around Staffordshire and Shropshire. These are particularly helpful for more rural areas as well as meeting capacity needs within areas where more screening is needed. We are also able to offer advanced screening examinations so that you are still able to be screened at local venues without needing to be referred to Hospital Eye Services (HES) for these types of screening. We still refer to HES if the patient could benefit from treatment for any diabetic eye disease.
Who will be screening me?
Diabetic eye screening staff are qualified diabetic eye screeners. They cannot offer medical or carer assistance to patients. If you need mobility assistance when attending, please come accompanied by a relative or carer.
What if I do not wish to be screened?
If you would like to opt out of screening you can do so for either a period of 18 months or 3 years. If you would like more information on how to do this you can call us on 0300 303 0887 or click on the following link to find out how to Opt Out via Email.
Who commissions the service?
The service is commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement - Midlands.
What happens to the information held about me?
Personal data will be safe. All data is held to and is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, the UK Data Protection Act 2018 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990. If you are to have any other privacy related concerns, please refer to our Privacy Notice.
The following links are all on the Government's Public Health pages: