Diabetic retinopathy (simply called ‘retinopathy’ here) is damage to the retina (the ‘seeing’ part at the back of the eye) and is a complication that can affect anyone who has diabetes.
Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among people of working age in the UK. You should be offered an appointment for eye screening for retinopathy with a special digital camera when your diabetes is diagnosed and once a year after that.
The sooner any retinopathy problems are detected and treated, the more successful treatment is likely to be. If you can’t attend the appointment you are given then do make sure that you make another date.
People with diabetes are entitled to free annual screening to check for retinopathy.
Children with diabetes should start having their eyes screened from the age of 12, or after puberty begins, whichever is sooner. If you are a parent of a child younger than this and would like them to be screened, especially if they were diagnosed at a very young age, discuss this with your diabetes care team.
Reviewed: March 2011
Next review: September 2012