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Published: 14 February 2024

9 in 10 people know the importance of regular diabetic eye screening, new research shows

By Dr Róisín McCarthy, Research Officer, National Screening Service

We’ve published the findings of a new online survey which shows increasing levels of knowledge about diabetic retinopathy and the importance of regular diabetic eye screening. 330 people with diabetes, or who have a spouse or child with diabetes, took part in the survey aimed at understanding people’s knowledge and awareness of diabetic retina screening.

Knowledge about diabetic retinopathy

Half (50%) of survey respondents describe their knowledge of diabetic retinopathy as quite good or knowing a lot about it – an increase on similar research in 2021 (28%).

Diabetic retina screening

9 in 10 people (89%) feel that it is extremely important or very important to attend for regular diabetic eye screening.


The main motivation to attend for diabetic retina screening was peace of mind (52% of respondents); receiving advice from a GP or other healthcare professional (45%); and receiving an invitation from Diabetic RetinaScreen to attend (43%).


Survey participants were asked what they thought the main barriers or challenges might be to attending diabetic retina screening. Almost 4 in 10 people said a fear of finding something wrong could be a barrier. 3 in 10 said a fear of the screening process and how it’s done could be a barrier; and a quarter (26%) of survey respondents said having difficulty travelling to and from an appointment could be a barrier.


Nearly half (45%) of survey respondents said they would feel confident in their ability to spot the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, an increase on similar research in 2021 (30%).


Overall, levels of knowledge and awareness about diabetic retinopathy are increasing. A considerable number of people know the importance of attending for regular diabetic retina screening. Empowering people to be more confident in their ability to spot the symptoms is important.

  • The research was carried out in June 2023 by Behaviour & Attitudes, on behalf of the National Screening Service.
  • Diabetic RetinaScreen is our national eye screening programme which aims to find and treat serious eye disease (retinopathy) in people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. It’s for people with diabetes aged 12 years and older. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes caused by high sugar levels which can damage the back of the eye (the retina). If it’s not found or left untreated it can cause sight loss over time. When retinopathy is found early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to eyesight.
  • You can register for Diabetic RetinaScreen online. Your GP or healthcare professional can also register you.
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