A national retinal screening programme for diabetes in Scotland

Diabet Med. 2003 Dec;20(12):962-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2003.01078.x.


The Health Technology Board Scotland (HTBS) have issued recommendations for eye screening in patients with diabetes. These are based on evidence-based clinical studies. Evidence-based studies do not answer all the practical issues, and some conclusions have thus been extrapolated from the known evidence base. Other factors such as patient issues, organizational issues and cost effectiveness have also been incorporated into the recommendations. HTBS recommend single-field digital retinal photography. Retinal photography best addresses the issues of adequate sensitivity and accountable quality assurance. Non-mydriatic photography is recommended, followed by immediate use of dilating eye drops if it is unsuccessful, followed by slit-lamp examination if both of these approaches fail. An independent grading scheme has been established, which is similar to the 'Global', and compatible with the National Screening Committee (NSC) grading scheme. The rationale for these recommendations, and debate behind some of the decisions, is laid out in this article.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Retina / pathology
  • Scotland
  • Vision Screening / methods