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Woman having retinography scan


Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK.
This is due to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a
complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels of the retina.

Diabetes, if not well controlled,causes the capillaries - tiny blood vessels - in the retina to leak  at first and then if the condition progresses to become blocked,
resulting in inhibited sight.


What is diabetic retinopathy screening?

Generally, diabetic retinopathy has no obvious symptoms, so many people with diabetes are unaware they have it until it is well advanced. A diabetic retinopathy
eye screen will pick up the earliest sign of diabetic retinopathy developing. This
is why it is essential to have this test once a year if you have diabetes.  

Research shows that excellent control of diabetes significantly reduces sight-threatening complications. It also shows that if diabetic retinopathy is identified early, through retinal screening, and treated appropriately, blindness can be prevented in the vast majority of people.

This screening service is not an eye test. Eye tests are performed by
optometrists who examine eye health, your need for spectacles and other
eye health or function tests. If you would like a routine eye test contact your
local optician by entering your full postcode into Your services finder.

What does the screening involve?

During the screening test, eye drops are used to make your pupils large, and then photographs are taken of your retina. As the photographs are being taken, you
will see flashes of bright light, but it is not normally uncomfortable. The
eye drops can blur sight, and may make you sensitive to bright light for a
few hours. Tinted glasses or sunglasses may be helpful. You must not drive for
at least 4 hours after the test.


Who is the service for?

Screening is offered annually to people with diabetes from the age of 12.


How do I access this service?

Usually your GP will refer you to the screening service. You will then receive a letter to attend an appointment for screening at one of the participating opticians who provide this service.

Where is the service provided?

In Bexley the screenings are performed at the opticians below. Please contact the practice directly for more information.                

R.F. Linklater and Partners

120 Broadway
Bexleyheath DA6 7DQ
Tel: 020 8303 4014
L. Dollay

259 Bexley Road
Northumberland Heath
Erith DA8 3EX
Tel: 01322 359507
Burnett Hodd & Jenkins

55 High Street
Sidcup DA14 6ED
Tel: 020 8309 7951

103 Main Road
Sidcup DA14 6ND
Tel: 020 8300 3222

BATS vans

Need help getting to your appointment?

If you are visually impaired or a wheelchair user and need transport assistance to make your screening appointment, we have a contract to use an accessible mini-bus service through Bexley Assisted Transport Scheme (BATS).

The service can only be accessed via fax referral from your GP practice. If you make a request before your appointment, your GP practice will organise transport for you or the person who has the screening.

For more information about Bexley Assisted Transport Scheme, contact BATs by email or by Tel: 01322 311 333.

Contact us

If you would like more information about diabetic retinopathy screening, contact the Screening Programme Office on 020 8776 3854 for more information.