What is Diabetic Screening?
In Oxfordshire, diabetic patients are asked to have an annual photograph taken of their retinas. This system is managed by ODESS (Oxfordshire Diabetic Eye Screening Service).
For most of Oxfordshire you will be asked to attend an optician from a small list across the county. They will dilate your eyes with drops and take a photograph of the back of your eyes. The photos are electronically sent to the diabetic centre who compare them against a national database and keep them file. Your photograph is also compared on a year by year basis to look for changes in your eyes.
This does not replace your routine eye examination carried out by your regular optician. Your regular optician will be looking for early signs of eye disease such as glaucoma and cataract as well as checking the well being of the muscles of the eye that control eye movement and focussing. They will also ensure your spectacle prescription is optimising your vision.
Your regular optician will still refer you if they are unhappy with your eyes and can provide your GP with a diabetic report should you prefer to 'opt out' of the ODESS scheme.
A 'normal' retina
What is the best scheme?
In Oxfordshire another scheme is also available where a mobile camera van visits local GP surgeries. This provides an organised screening service, not run for profit. They have the latest equipment and your appointment can be tied in with your other diabetic checks at your GP surgery rather than having to track down one of the few opticians offering the service and have another appointment.
Do Robert Stanley Opticians carry out retinal photography?
We believe the current scheme offers a good screening system, but worry about extra appointments required and the need to find somewhere convenient for the screening. We also felt that the system would force you to attend a retail environment you do not know and could only encourage sales tactics being adopted to maximise the profitability of your visit.
We therefore declined to be part of the present scheme but hope that an improved system will be introduced in the near future similar to the mobile camera service.
Thank you, I hope you found this useful.
for more information on diabetes see http://www.retinalscreening.nhs.uk