Coronavirus: Stay at home

Health information and advice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Diabetic retinal screening has restarted

(28 Jul 2020)

Restarting Diabetic RetinaScreen Safely

Diabetic RetinaScreen, the National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme, has restarted. The programme was paused in March on Public Health advice due to COVID-19.

Screening invitations are being sent out to eligible people. Invitations will be sent to the following people:

  • anyone who is overdue a screening appointment because they were due during the paused period
  • anyone who is now due a screening appointment
  • anyone who has now become eligible for their first eye screening test
  • anyone who has joined the programme since March 2020.

Due to the pause in screening, it will take some months to catch up.

When you go for your screening test

Although your Diabetic RetinaScreen test will be the same, it may seem a little different when you go for your next screening appointment.

New measures have been introduced to keep patients and staff safe. To help protect against COVID-19, once you receive your appointment letter in the post , the programme will make contact by phone to check you are well and  wish to attend your  screening appointment.

Some other changes:

  • Your screener will call you before your appointment.
  • You will be asked to wait outside until it is time for your appointment.
  • You should come for your appointment on your own but if you need someone to help you into the building, please let us know.
  • Your screener will wear some personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Fewer people will be in your clinic building.
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask. We can provide you with a mask if you don’t have one.
  • You might have to wait a little longer for your appointment.

Preparing for your screening appointment:

  • Bring your mobile phone with you, in case we need to contact you before you come into the clinic.
  • Do your best to organise childcare, where needed, before your appointment.
  • Organise a lift home, ideally with someone from your own household.
  • Bring warm clothes and/or a rain jacket in case you have to spend time outside waiting to be called into the clinic for your appointment.
  • Bring your own pen to sign the screening form.

It is important to get a lift to your appointment because you cannot drive after receiving your eye drops. However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, only you can enter the building. If you need someone to help you into the building, please let us know.

Screening is restarting based on the current levels of COVID-19 infections in Ireland which mean that it’s safe for clients and staff. If this situation changes, the above measures will be reviewed.

Managing symptoms

If you have any concerns about your eyes or your sight it is important to contact your GP, eye doctor, or optician.

Diabetic retinopathy may not have any symptoms or may not affect sight in the early stages. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to sight.

Register now

Regular screening for diabetic retinopathy is important if you have diabetes. People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which is a common complication of diabetes which affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye and can lead to deterioration in vision.

If you, or someone you know, are living with diabetes and aged 12 years or older, make sure you are registered with Diabetic RetinaScreen.

Please ring Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or visit


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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.