Diabetic RetinaScreen Module for Health Professionals

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This site is intended for health care professionals. 



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Health professionals

  1. Link to the Diabetic RetinaScreen module for Health Professionals
  2. Online, verify a patient is on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register
  3. List of current screening locations (pdf link - updated December 2019)
  4. List of treatment clinics
  5. Letter to Health Professionals about Diabetic RetinaScreen
    (pdf link - March 2014)

    Useful information about Diabetic RetinaScreen

How to verify a patient is on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register

A GP can verify their patient's diagnosis is on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register and can add newly diagnosed people with diabetes by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55 (choose option 4) or online here at verify a client.

We will need to confirm some of your patient's personal details to check whether they are on our register:

  • Forename(s) and middle names
  • Surname (or family name)
  • Surname at birth
  • Date of birth
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • GP details

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Diabetic retinopathy screening in Ireland

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in working age individuals' in Ireland, at the present time. It is estimated that there are approximately 190,000 people in Ireland with diabetes and 10 per cent of them are at risk of sight threatening retinopathy.

Diabetic RetinaScreen commenced its national population-based diabetic retinopathy screening programme at the end of February 2013 and this is being introduced on a phased basis to ensure quality and safety.

Diabetic RetinaScreen will deliver great benefits to men and women with diabetes in Ireland who are at risk of sight threatening retinopathy, enhancing quality of life and preserving sight for longer. Of the population screened and treated, it is expected that six per cent will be prevented from going blind within a year of treatment and 34 per cent within ten years of treatment.

Diabetic retinopathy risk factors:

  • Blood sugar levels
    The control of blood sugar levels is of immense importance. Lower blood sugar levels can delay the onset and slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy
  • Blood pressure
    High blood pressure damages blood vessels, raising the chances for eye problems. Effective control of blood pressure reduces the risk of retinopathy progression and visual acuity deterioration
  • Duration of diabetes
    The risk of diabetic retinopathy developing or progressing increases over time. After 15 years, 80 per cent of Type 1 patients will have diabetic retinopathy. After 19 years, up to 84 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes will have diabetic retinopathy
  • Blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides)
    Elevated blood lipid levels can lead to greater accumulation of exudates, protein deposits that leak into the retina. This condition is associated with a higher risk of moderate visual loss
  • Pregnancy
    Women who have diabetes and become pregnant have an increased risk of developing retinopathy. If they already have diabetic retinopathy, it may progress

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Diabetic RetinaScreen programme

Diabetic RetinaScreen - the National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme, commenced at the end of February 2013 and is being introduced on a phased basis to ensure quality and safety.

It is a government-funded programme providing free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to all persons with diabetes aged 12 years and older on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register. All international evidence and research shows that there is no advantage to screening for retinopathy before the age of 12.

The programme is being implemented and managed by the National Screening Service (NSS), which is part of the Health Service Executive (HSE). This is the first non-cancer population based screening programme to be undertaken by the NSS.

This is a call/re-call screening programme aiming to reach a growing eligible population of 190,000+ people. This is based on over five per cent of the adult population (from the age of twenty) and one per cent of the child population (aged 12 to 19) having diabetes, with a programme uptake of 80 per cent.

Digital retinal photography with mydriasis is the gold standard screening test to detect diabetic retinopathy. If treatment or follow-up is required, the client is referred to a specialist opthamology clinic or eye clinic.

Following an open EU tendering process, contracts to provide digital photography and grading services for the screening of diabetic retinopathy were awarded to Global Vision and MIDRSS Ltd.

The programme has received the contact details of the majority of known persons with diabetes from National Health Schemes such as the Medical Card Scheme, Drugs Payment Scheme and Long Term Illness Scheme.

A GP can verify their patient is on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register and can add newly diagnosed people with diabetes by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55 (choose option 4).

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The first round of Diabetic RetinaScreen

Diabetic RetinaScreen commenced screening at the end of February 2013 and is being introduced on a phased basis, however after the first round all persons registered with the programme will be invited for annual diabetic retionopathy screening.  

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Quality assurance measures

A Quality Assurance Committee was established and is made up of individuals from the various stakeholder groups. 'Standards for Quality Assurance in Diabetic Retinopathy Screening' are available to view here.

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About The National Screening Service (NSS)

The National Screening Service (NSS) provides population-based screening and is part of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The NSS aims to maximise expertise and learning across population-based screening programmes and improve efficiencies by developing a single governance model for screening. The NSS also encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme and BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme. Diabetic RetinaScreen is the first non-cancer population based screening programme to be undertaken by the NSS.

Similar to BreastCheck, CervicalCheck and BowelScreen, within Diabetic RetinaScreen, the NSS ensures that quality assurance is paramount and all the essential elements are in place to ensure risks to patients are minimised and that the best clinical outcomes for patients are maximised.

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Supporting evidence and further reading

A short list of some references and further reading has been compiled, yet is not exhaustive. Most references can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

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Order your screening service resources from healthpromotion.ie

You can now order your screening service resources on healthpromotion.ie There are two ways to order resources from the health promotion website, depending on whether you are a member of the public or a healthcare professional.

If you have any difficulties with this process or with your password, please email the Health Information Team on healthinfo@hse.ie

If you have a query about an order already placed, please email queries@healthpromotion.ie


Update on ordering your screening service resources from healthpromotion.ie

Screening service resources are usually available from healthpromotion.ie. Unfortunately, the website is currently unavailable, due to the HSE cyber attack earlier this year. When access is restored we will update the information on our screening service website here. Our Digital team are hoping for this resource page to be fully restored in the near future.

We have a new process for ordering screening service resources. To order resources please contact: https://www2.hse.ie/services/healthpromotion/order-form.html

Previous Health Promotion accounts are inactive due to the cyber attack on the HSE. They cannot be used to order resources at present.

If you have ordered a resource you have not yet received, please e-mail healthinfo@hse.ie along with your full contact details, Eircode and quantity requested.


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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.

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