Diabetic eye screening service celebrates 10 years

Teesside’s diabetic eye screening service is celebrating its 10th birthday.

The service, run by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust provides eye screening for people in Teesside and parts of County Durham who have diabetes.

The team of specialists sees thousands of patients and provides screening to patients from 12 years old.

diabetic-eye-screening-serviceProgramme lead Sue Pott, started working for the service as a retinal screener grader when the service was set up. She said: “We have a fantastic team of specialists, which has grown over the years.

“When the service was set up 10 years ago we were based in Thornaby Health Centre. We later moved to the new building at Lawson Street Health Centre.

“We began with a programme manager, three screener graders, which increased to four within a few months and one administrator. We had 12,000 patients which we entered manually onto our computer system and sent out thousands of letters.

“We now have a team of nine staff and we see 21,000 patients. We’ve upgrade two of our cameras and have two optical coherence tomography (OCT) machines – which produces a high quality 3D scan of the retina, one at Lawson Street and one at Peterlee Community Hospital.

“The service has gone from strength to strength as we’ve upgraded technology and continued to improve the service we provide for our patients. We’re looking forward to developing the service even further.

“It is such a vital service for people who have diabetes. Diabetes is a common cause of sight loss and you are at a higher risk of developing eye problems.

“We have saved hundreds of referrals into hospital due to closer monitoring with OCT and the introduction of surveillance clinics, and have saved the eye sight of hundreds of patients through screening. That’s why we want to remind people that it is so important that people take up their screening appointments.”

You can help yourself to reduce the risk of diabetic eye disease by:

  • always attending your screening appointments
  • controlling your blood sugar levels
  • eating healthily
  • stop smoking
  • monitoring your blood pressure
  • taking your medication as prescribed

To find out more about the diabetes eye screening service go to https://www.nth.nhs.uk/services/diabetic-eye-screening/

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