McCracken Opticians

Tel: 01889 562184



Answering your questions

Why should I be screened?

Diabetic eye screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss. As someone with diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision.  It is offered every year to anyone with diabetes aged 12 and over.


What is diabetic retinopathy?

This condition occurs when diabetes damages small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that acts rather like a film in a camera.  It can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked.  It is the most common cause of sight loss in people of working age and it is estimated that every year in England 4,200 people are at risk of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy.

What diabetic eye screening services do McCracken Opticians offer?


  • Annual Routine Digital Eye Screening


  • Slit lamp biomicroscopy examinations (for patients who present with unassessable or ungradable photographs, eg patients with cataract)


  • DS -  Digital Surveillance Screening (for patients who have more advanced disease and are managed outside of Hospital Eye Services)


For diabetic patients living in Uttoxeter and surrounds, we are your nearest screening practice, delivering a patient-friendly service close to your home, designed to reduce the risk of blindness for people who have diabetes.  There are another 60 optician’s practices carrying out community diabetic eye screening in Staffordshire and you are free to choose to be screened at any one of these.


What happens at my screening appointment?


We put drops in your eyes to temporarily make your pupils larger. You may find that the drops sting. Eye drops may affect your vision for a few hours, so you should not drive after your appointment. We take photographs of the back of your eyes (the camera does not come into contact with your eyes). Later on we enhance the photographs and check them for any diabetic changes.  If so, the photographs are sent to a grader colleague to review.  Staffordshire Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service will send a letter to you and your GP within 6 weeks to let you know your screening results.  If there are any problems or more questions, the screening service may call you back for another assessment.  The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes.

What could screening find?

Screening can detect: 
• Early signs of retinopathy
• If you need a follow up appointment to see whether you need treatment
• If you need to have more frequent checks

Why is screening important?

Eye screening is a key part of your diabetes care.  Diabetic Retinopathy progresses with time but may not cause symptoms until it is quite advanced and close to affecting a person's sight.  When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to your sight. However, any damage to the vision that has already occurred can’t be reversed in most cases, so annual screening is important in that it can detect these problems before they reach this stage.

Remember, diabetic eye screening is not covered as part of your normal eye examination with an optician. Screening does not look for other eye conditions and you should continue to visit your optician regularly for an eye examination as well.


You can help to reduce your risk if you:


• Control your blood glucose as effectively as possible

• See your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure is not raised

• Attend your diabetic eye screening appointments

• Get advice if you have a problem with your sight

• Take your medication as prescribed


What do I need to think about on the day?

Practical hints and tips

• Bring all the glasses and contact lenses you wear along with lens solution for contacts

• Bring sunglasses as your eyes can feel sensitive after the eye drops

• You may want to bring someone with you to the appointment 

• Eye drops may affect your vision for a few hours, so you should not drive after your appointment


For more information


See the accompanying letter for details of what you need to do next.  If you decide that you would like to be screened at McCracken Opticians, please call in and make an appointment, or phone 01889 562184.

You can read more about eye screening and diabetic retinopathy at: