Current UK NSC recommendations > Diabetic Retinopathy

The UK NSC recommendation on Diabetic Retinopathy screening in adults (currently under review)


This recommendation is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Nov 2019.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening recommended by UK NSC?

The recommendation to change from one year to two year screening intervals for people at low risk of sight loss is based on the following evidence:

  • following two successive clear diabetic eye screening appointments people with diabetes will be classed as being at low risk of developing sight threatening retinopathy
  • a large observational study was carried out which showed that it was safe to invite people in this low risk group every two years rather than annually. Screening this group less often not only releases capacity, but also lessens the inconvenience for this group of attending appointments every year
  • the study found that the current screening interval for people with a high risk of sight loss should remain annual

More about Diabetic Retinopathy

Damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina in the back of the eye is called retinopathy. This is more common in people with diabetes. Damage to these vessels causes blood to leak (haemorrhage) in to the retina or other parts of the eye. This can seriously affect your vision and may cause blindness.

» Read more about diabetic retinopathy on NHS UK

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.


Action for Blind People
Association of British Clinical Diabetologists
Association of Optometrists
British Association of Retinal Screening
College of Optometrists
Diabetes UK
Faculty of Public Health
Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes
Institute of Diabetes in Older People
Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust
International Diabetes Federation
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
National Diabetes Information Service
Primary Care Diabetes Society
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Young Diabetologists Forum

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

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