Coronavirus: Stay at home

Health information and advice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Diabetic retina screening is paused in line with the HSE's measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our commitment to you, our service users, and to your safety will continue to be our principal concern at this time. We will update our website with information when we can offer screening again. If you are worried about symptoms, please phone your GP. Never ignore symptoms.

For the most up to date information please visit here.

Freephone information line: 1800 45 45 55

Diabetic RetinaScreen - Programme update

Diabetic RetinaScreen has been paused on public health advice since March 16 due to the situation with Covid-19. The pause is to protect clients and staff by complying with social distancing guidelines.  

The National Screening Service has temporarily redeployed some of its staff and resources to support the response for assistance in dealing with Covid-19. However, some staff continue to work within the programme. However, clinics are still seeing urgent cases.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the National Screening Service has been assessing the feasibility of continuing the four programmes and assessing the associated risks. We are developing a roadmap for restarting screening. This will happen as part of the HSE’s overall plan to restart paused health services on a priority basis, as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

The restarting of screening will be based on HSE and Department of Health guidance on measures to prevent Covid-19. The health, wellbeing and safety of our clients is our top priority at this time.

Diabetic RetinaScreen Clinical Director David Keegan says: “If a person develops symptoms, they must go to their GP who can refer them to hospital for the appropriate management. Clients who have non-Covid-19 related illnesses are being treated every day in our hospitals and our emergency departments are open to all urgent medical conditions.”

What this means for Diabetic RetinaScreen Clients

The National Screening Service has paused invitations and cancelled scheduled screening appointments. 

Diabetic RetinaScreen clients, who have been referred to the ophthalmology department for assessment, will only be invited at this time if the consultant thinks it is safe to do so. 

Appointments may be delayed until it is safe to invite clients to attend ophthalmology departments. The hospital will do everything they can to ensure appointments are prioritised appropriately when they recommence services.

Re-starting screening

The screening programmes will be restarted as soon as it is agreed safe to do so. This will be based on evidence received on Covid-19.  

If a client is due their Diabetic RetinaScreen appointment

The client will be invited for their screening appointment when it is safe to re-start screening. If a client is worried about symptoms, they should contact their GP or ophthalmology clinic. 

If a client has received a screening appointment from Diabetic RetinaScreen  

If a client has received an appointment letter they should disregard it. Once the programme restarts screening, they will receive a new appointment letter in the post, with a date and time of their appointment.

If a client has difficulty with their eyesight

It is important that clients contact their GPs or their ophthalmology clinic.  

Being aware of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is still very important. If a client has any of the following symptoms, they should contact their GP or ophthalmology department without delay: 

  • gradually worsening vision
  • sudden vision loss
  • shapes floating in their field of vision (floaters)
  • blurred or patchy vision
  • eye pain or redness.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean they have diabetic retinopathy, but it is important to get them checked out. 

A client shouldn’t wait until their next screening appointment.  If they are worried about symptoms, they should contact their GP, Optometrist or Ophthalmology Clinic.

If screening is paused beyond the regular six-month or 12 month screening

The risk to a person’s eyesight from delaying their screening is minimal. It is more important to protect a client from Covid-19 as people with diabetes are at greater risk of contracting the virus. They will be re-invited for screening when it is safe to re-start screening.

If they have already been screened and referred to an ophthalmology clinic for further assessment

If they have been referred to the ophthalmology department for assessment, they will only be invited at this time if the consultant thinks it is safe to do so. 

Their appointment may be delayed until it is safe to invite them to attend the ophthalmology department. The hospital will do everything they can to ensure appointments are prioritised appropriately.

If a client requires any further information, or has any other queries, they should contact Diabetic RetinaScreen on Freephone: 1800 45 45 55, or see www.diabeticretinascreen.ie

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Diabetic RetinaScreen
Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é Diabetic RetinaScreen Diabetic Retina Screen is part of the National Screening Service
Bosca Oifig Phoist 2 PO Box 2
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55 Freephone 1800 45 45 55
   

Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive in Ireland. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.