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FAQs for Patients 

What is meant by screening using digital photography?

Digital photography is now the main way of screening for diabetic eye disease. This involves taking photographs of the back of your eyes using a special camera. It does not hurt but the flash is bright. Your pupils will still need to be dilated before the pictures are taken.

How will I know when to attend?

We will send you letter each year telling you that you are due for screening. This letter will provide you with details of how to book your appointment.
If you do not respond we will send you a reminder
We will send you a second and final reminder. We will also send a copy to your GP who may call you to discuss your annual screening appointment.

How will my name be on the list?

All patients who have diabetes and are registered with GP practices in South Wiltshire or North Hampshire are automatically added to the central screening list which is updated regularly.

What happens if I move?

If you move, but are still registered with a GP practice in Salisbury or North Hampshire your details any changes will be automatically changed on the central list.

If you move out of the area, you will need to register with a new GP and your new practice will give you details of their local scheme.

What if I live in South Wiltshire or North Hampshire, but I am registered with a GP practice
that is based in a different county, eg Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire?

Only patients registered with a GP in South Wiltshire or North Hampshire will be included in the Salisbury and North Hampshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme. Your GP practice will be able to give you details of your local scheme.

What if I am housebound or physically unable to sit in front of a camera?

There are a number of options. Please contact your GP to discuss these.

What happens to the results?

You will receive the results by letter within three to six weeks of your screening test. The screener may not be able to give you the result immediately, as images must be checked before results are issued. However, they should be able to give you an idea of what your letter will say. Your GP will be sent the results at the same time as these are sent to you.

What happens if the test shows diabetic eye disease?

If your screener sees signs of diabetic eye disease, a second qualified person will check the photographs. If the signs are confirmed, an eye specialist will look at the photographs. You will then be called to an eye clinic if required. If the signs of diabetic eye disease are present, but not threatening your sight, you may need to have more photographs taken to monitor the eye changes at shorter intervals than the normal 12 months. You will receive a letter telling you of the recommendation.

What if I have other questions that are not answered by information on this website?

Please contact the screening office on 01722 425022 and leave a message, or send an email to

What is the difference between an NHS sight test and a diabetic eye screen?

For an NHS sight test, the optometrist will test your near and distance vision and see whether you need glasses give you the correct lens prescription. They will also carry out a general examination which will look at f the overall health of your eyes. The pupils are not usually dilated with an NHS sight test. People with diabetes are normally now entitled to a free NHS sight test every two years. This is a change from the previous free annual test.

The NHS sight test alone may not routinely detect sight threatening diabetic eye disease. When you have a diabetic eye screen, your distance vision is tested, then drops are used to dilate the pupils and this takes about 20 minutes. The next step is to take two digital photographs of each eye using the special camera. These photographs are looked at very carefully to check for any signs of disease.

Where can I find further information?

NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme website supplies information leaflets

Page Last Updated: 3/18/2015 3:44 PM 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website