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Diabetic RetinaScreen Programme

The National Screening Advisory Committee (NSAC) was established in 2019 following a recommendation from the 2018 Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme. The NSAC is an independent advisory committee and advises the Minister and Department of Health on all new proposals for population-based screening programmes and revisions to existing programmes. Since 2020, HIQA has provided evidence synthesis support to the NSAC.

Diabetic retinopathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus and is a common cause of vision impairment and sight loss. Diabetic retinopathy screening programmes can prevent the progression of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) by timely detection and treatment of cases. Diabetic RetinaScreen is a government-funded programme providing free diabetic retinopathy screening to all persons with diabetes aged 12 years and older on the Diabetic RetinaScreen register. 

Annual screening of people with diabetes is current practice. However, in line with international practice, it has been proposed that two year screening intervals should be introduced for those at low risk of retinopathy progression and who have demonstrated compliance with the programme.

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