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Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by Ian McG, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Ian McG

    Ian McG Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hi all. Newly diagnosed T1D here, about a month ago, with a HbA1c of 124 on diagnosis. Clearly had been diabetic for months without realising. I have had most of the required health checks done to ensure I did not do any damage with such a high HbA1C for god knows how long. The last think to check are my eyes. I mentioned getting an appointment to my DSN yesterday and she said I could just arrange it with any of the local opticians boots, specsavers etc... is that accurate? I was under the impression it had to be organised through the NHS and done in specialised NHS locations?

    Thanks for your help in advance!

    Ian
     
  2. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    I can only speak of my own experience as a person with T2. I was sent to an NHS Retinopathy Screening Unit to have the pictures taken. I have heard that there are some opticians who do this but not all of them do.
    Your DN should not have waited to be asked about screening, she/he should, I think, have actually arranged it.
    If you are under the hospital for your T1 perhaps they are responsible for the arrangements?
     
  3. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hello Ian. I can understand your worry and I am surprised that your DSN isn't referring you to a retinal eye screening service. This may be run by a 3rd party but it is usually part of the regular screening for type 1s.
    This screening saved my sight when I developed retinopathy and it shouldn't be left to the patient to organise. On the positive side, its unlikely that a few months of high sugars will have triggered a bleed in your eyes. What is important now is to get your sugars down and stable because its the rollercoaster effect which blood vessels in the eyes react to!
    I would personally call Diabetes UK careline for advice on what you have a right to expect in your care package. If you are being cared for via the GP, I would call the specialist unit at your local hospital to check out how to get on the eye screening list.

    I hope that screening is reassuring. Specsaers et al may be able to spot retinopathy but its not their 'bread and butter' business.
     
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  4. PenguinMum

    PenguinMum Type 2 · Expert

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    When I mentioned it to my DN in April she also suggested I go to Specsavers. Because I had read on the forum that people had hospital retinopathy appointments I asked for the same. She agreed to refer me. I wonder if its a cost cutting exercise to suggest opticians first.
     
  5. Christina0308

    Christina0308 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    My doctor referred me on diagnosis last year to the hospital screening, just had my second one, waiting for results.
     
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  6. Ian McG

    Ian McG Type 1 · Newbie

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    My experience has not been great so far. Was send to A&E by GP as had ketones in my urine and after a night on a drip and been shown how to use the insulin pens was discharged with basic info, they even tried to discharge me without my insulin as it was not ready and told me to pick it up the following day :facepalm:

    Then I had to wait 5 weeks to see the DSN (been told it might be over 6 months to see the endocrinologist) and the meeting was not exactly useful so not too surprised she did not mention retinal screening until asked.

    I also enquired about DAFNE course but was told it would be 6 months before she would put me on the list as they wanted to be sure about the type of Diabetes I have. This despite the fact I have never had a % body fat above 12% as I am an exercise nut and watch what I eat. Also I was positive on the antibody test so pretty clearly type 1.

    Blood sugar levels are already under control at least, as I entered a honeymoon phase after a week on insulin, getting by on only a few units of Basal and could probably get by without Bolus at meals if I don't eat more than 30/40g of carbs. I realise this wont last forever though.

    I will talk to my GP he is usually pretty good so maybe he can refer me.
     
  7. Flora123

    Flora123 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The screening at an opticians is not the same. At the diabetic eye screening drops are put into the eye to dilate the pupil and then can take images of a much much larger area of the eye. (You aren’t supposed to drive after). I asked the question as I have mine screened at Boots but was told to go to the diabetic screening.
     
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  8. SamJB

    SamJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I go to a local optician. They take photos of your retina and send them to the hospital for analysis. You'll get a letter back from the hospital with the results
     
  9. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Legend

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    I was diagnosed in 2014 and was invited to the national screening service for a check a month or two later, and have been invited every 12 months since then. The national service is more likely to have more advanced equipment, and I do know that the pictures are enlarged and looked at by 2 different eye specialists. I'm not sure that happens in opticians. Maybe I am wrong.
     
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  10. LornaFarrell

    LornaFarrell · Well-Known Member

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    I was diagnosed a couple of months ago and have just got a letter through about a retina check. Mine is at my GP surgery and was arranged by the GP. The leaflet specifically emphasises that it’s not the same as the checks an optician does and you need this even if you regularly see an optician. My husband is having to take time off work to drive me and look after the children, since they use eye drops that mean you can’t drive.

    Not sure that helps, but it’s what I got in the post a couple of days ago!

    Not sure
     
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  11. dancer

    dancer Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    My brother (Type 2) lives in the south east of England. His GP or practice nurse told him to see his optician for his retinal screening, which he did and was charged for it. He did this for a couple of years until I told him he shouldn't have to pay and it should be done at the hospital. He had asked his practice nurse to refer him but she hadn't. He has now had retinal screening done at the hospital for several years.

    I am in Scotland and attend a hospital diabetic clinic. For several years my screening was done at the hospital but now it is organised by my GP and is done at the health centre. A van used to park at the door and was used for the screening, but now there is a designated room in the building. The photos are examined elsewhere and we get results one to four weeks later.

    My optician takes retinal photos as part of my annual eye test, but she told me that more advanced cameras are used for diabetic eye screening. I wouldn't like my annual eye screening just to be done by Specsavers . . . just in case.
     
  12. kirstyboo79

    kirstyboo79 Type 2 · Member

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    Not all opticians provide retinopathy tests, so your community NHS service should be telling you who does.
     
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  13. Malc.

    Malc. Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I live in pembrokeshire and since I was diagnosed as type 2 almost 7 years ago, I have had an annual retinopathy eye check arranged by N.H.S. Wales. I then usually get a letter about 2 or 3 weeks after the check informing me of the results. However, having had a check in April, this year, I hadn't received a letter. I contacted them and they replied that there had been delays in processing them and it may take up to 6 weeks! It actually took over 6 weeks. Fortunately there were no changes from the previous check, but I wasn't impressed.
    I may not bother next year if the service is that poor!
     
  14. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse · Well-Known Member

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    Your GP practice should refer you to your local Diabetic Eye Screening Programme so that you are seen within 3 months of diagnosis. Usually, the screening service has technicians who take the photos but in some areas of the country, the photographs are taken by specially-trained opticians who are employed by the screening service. These screening appointments are organised under the auspices of the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, differ from the normal sight-test at the opticians and are free.

    Contact your GP practice again and check that you have already been referred to the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme. Even if the test is done at an optician's, the Programme should give you a list of the specialist opticians they employ with instructions of how and when to make an appointment.
     
  15. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Legend

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    That would be cutting of your nose to spite your eyes! These checks are ultra important for all diabetics.
     
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  16. GussyGander

    GussyGander Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hi you only get referred to the eye specialist once complications have diagnosed by run of the mill checks with opticians or Diabetic screening, Basically the trained optician knowing you are coming for diabetic check can see if there are any new growths and let you know. In turn you then let your DSN/GP that you have been advised there may be complications and you will then be referred.


    That's what happened with me anyway. On another note once you have had initial check you should be checked on you annual review at Diabetic clinic and if you do have retinopathy or complications you then fall under the eye specialist's wing and your diabetic centre leaves your eyes alone.

    I have been living with retinopathy for 13 years now and every time I get an eye test for glasses etc the opticians always advise to see my GP because my eyes show I may be diabetic.. I always wonder though because I have had corrective surgery many times and surely they can see that.
    .
     
  17. nottmpantherssteve

    nottmpantherssteve Type 2 · Newbie

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    Hello Ian,

    I was instructed by an Eye Surgeon several year's ago, that for a Diabetic Retina Screening you need to attend a hospital, or, Clinic, or, other medical practice that has the necessary equipment to undertake the appropriate examination, as they photograph the inner eye for Retina analysis, which these retail companies don't do specifically. These corporate companies such as Specsavers and Vision Express are not to be relied on to provide any type of Diabetic Retina Screening as they are only interested in getting you to purchase their products, which is a totally different ball game. There is no problem in going to these retail outlets for a bog standard eye test if you want to obtain spectacles, contact lenses, or, other similar items, but not for Diabetes tests, or, any other major eye health problems, such as Glaucoma, etc, etc. The results of your tests need to be added to your medical records over the years, by the acute hospital trust, or, other NHS body, retail companies will never have access to your records to do that.
    It just so happens that I am attending my annual Retina Screening in late October and have my paperwork from my local Hospital to hand, it quite clearly states in the small NHS booklet that you are NOT to drive after the examination, in fact, the NHS staff will turn you away and refuse to undertake the screening if you are found to be driving alone, this also includes mobility scooters. If you have to return to work after your appointment you are also instructed not to operate any kind of mechanical, or, electrical machinery, as your eyesight will be fogged by the drops they put in and your vision will be impaired for between 2-8 hours, and it does sting a little when they put them in to start with, and this does last for a few hours afterwards, I have had 4 annual visits already with my Type 2.
    Depending on where you live, of course, I would suggest you request from your DNS/ GP that you require a proper Diabetic Retina Screening appointment at your local Hospital's Dept. of Opthalmology, eye clinic, or whatever else they have available on the NHS.
    It has been well known for some years for us patients that Screening is offered to anyone with Diabetes over the age of 12 on an annual basis, in the UK, I am astonished that as you are a Type 1 that this wasn't done for you as a matter of course.

    May I also suggest that you get put into the Diabetes programme for your feet to be examined by a qualified Chiropodist, or, Podiatrist, as they are now called, this is absolutely essential for anyone over 55 year's old to have their feet checked annually for colour, blood circulation, lacerations, feelings in your toes, etc, etc.

    All the best.

    Steve.
     
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  18. nico7586

    nico7586 Type 1 · Newbie

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    I was diagnosed as a late onset of Diabetes in 1998 and and tried Diet and then Tablets and none of them work so I realise I was a Type 1. Every year I am invited by the NHS Retinal Screening for a test. I also have the normal yearly eye test by my optician and they always forward the info to my GP and the Hospital for follow up. I am really grateful to the NHS, my GP and my Diabetic Nurses and Dietitian for the care they give me. It is very important that YOU tell them what you want as some are not up to scratch when it comes to Diabetes and I have been very fortunate so far when it comes to my welfare. I was so surprise that your HBA1C was so high as mine are around 6.9 to 7.2 which is approx 67. When you see your GP insist that they send you for a annual Retinal Screening.
     
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  19. Kibera99

    Kibera99 Type 2 · Newbie

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    No,no,no,don't be fobbed off by the DN,the HA have a duty of care,not Specsavers,the retinopathy screening must be carried out by them,in order that regular screening and examination is made by a professional .
     
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  20. Lottie18

    Lottie18 Type 1 · Newbie

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