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Your diabetic eye screening appointment

Preventing sight loss from diabetes

Coronavirus: diabetic eye screening programme update

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.


The diabetic eye screening programme central administration office at Guy's Hospital handles all enquiries.

Tel: 020 7188 1979

This page explains what you can expect when you come for your screening appointment. There are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the diabetic eye screening programme on our frequently asked questions page.

For general information from the NHS about what to expect at your diabetic eye screening appointment, please read Your guide to diabetic eye screening.

  • Before your appointment

    • Do not drive to your appointment. You will not be able to drive for at least two hours after your appointment, as we will put drops in your eyes, which will make your vision blurry.
    • If you wear contact lenses please remove them when you get to your appointment. Please bring a container and some solution or your wear glasses to the appointment.
    • You may also wish to bring some sunglasses with you to wear home because of the drops we put in your eyes.
    • There may be limited seating in the waiting area, so please try to limit the number of people who come with you to your appointment.
  • Changing your appointment

    If you need to change or cancel your appointment for any reason, we will be happy to rearrange this for you.

    Please contact the diabetic eye screening programme administration team on 020 7188 1979 or email

  • What happens at your appointment

    When you come to the clinic for your screening appointment you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area until a member of staff calls you.

    The screening technician will:

    • call you into a clinic room and check we have the correct details for you
    • ask you about your diabetes and your eyes
    • check your eyesight (with your glasses on if you wear them). This will take around 10 minutes
    • put some drops into your eyes, which make your pupils bigger.  This lets the camera take a fuller picture of the back of your eye. The drops can take about 20 minutes to work, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area while they take effect.

    Please remember that you will not be able to drive for at least two hours after the drops have been put in your eyes.  

    When you are called back in to have your eyes photographed, the screening technician will take around four to six images, and at least two of each eye, using a very powerful camera. This will take about 10 minutes.

    At this point, we cannot give you any feedback on your images (unless there is something very urgent, which requires immediate assessment or treatment). This is because the reporting of results goes through a quality assurance process and your images may be seen by at least two different people before the final result is reported on.

  • After your appointment

    Your final results will not be immediate. We will send you a letter within three to six weeks of your appointment explaining your results (usually sooner). We will also send the results to your GP. Your results may either show:

    No changes - normal results. If your results are normal we will just ask you to come to another screening appointment in 12 months time.

    Some diabetic changes. If your results show that there are some early or mild diabetic changes affecting your eyes we will let you know as making improvements to your diabetes management can be important in preventing them from progressing further. We will screen you again in one year, but it is especially important that you attend for regular screening to assess whether the changes have progressed. Your GP will be informed, but we suggest that you contact them to review your diabetes care plan. Please read the Your guide to diabetic retinopathy leaflet for more information. This leaflet is also available in other languages, please visit the GOV.UK website

    Significant diabetic changes. If your results show there are significant diabetic changes, we will refer you to a specialist eye doctor for an outpatient appointment and assessment. This will be at the hospital most local to the location you attending for screening. The hospitals we refer to are:

    • St Thomas’ Hospital
    • King's College Hospital
    • Lewisham Hospital
    • Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup
    • Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich
    • Princess Royal University Hospital.

    Please read the Closer monitoring and treatment for diabetic retinopathy leaflet for more information. This leaflet is also available in other languages, please visit the GOV.UK website