Eye care scheme to help diabetics

DIABETES: Around 83,000 people will be covered by the eye screening programme.
DIABETES: Around 83,000 people will be covered by the eye screening programme.

Eye screening experts from the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust are currently helping people with diabetes in the Dewsbury and Batley areas care for their sight.

The Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP) has been run in Wakefield and North Kirklees by Mid Yorkshire for more than 15 years.

Now the team will be building on this success by delivering a revamped community-based screening programme after being awarded a new contract.

Around 83,000 people will be covered by the programme with this figure to rise to more than 100,000 within a few years.

Diabetic patients are being offered screening at a variety of locations across the area with a focus on providing care closer to home and offering flexible and convenient appointment times.

Each screening location will be supplied with new state-of-the-art equipment. The team will also be deploying a mobile screening van to target other locations, such as care homes and prisons, as well as areas where access to screening services has been identified as an issue.

Eye screening is a key part of diabetes care to check for diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of preventable blindness in the working age group.

Regular screening helps to identify sight threatening disease early – before people are even aware they may have it –which means they can be quickly referred for timely treatment.

Fiona Jorden, screening and immunisation lead at NHS England (West Yorkshire), said: “We’re pleased to have the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust as our provider of diabetic eye screening across Wakefield, North Kirklees and Leeds and with their help we would like to ensure that more people with diabetes can access their annual diabetic eye screening and protect their eyesight.

“The eye screening programme will reach out to people affected by diabetes and will also actively look to engage people who may not have previously accessed the programme, such as people in care homes and prisons.”