Consistently high blood glucose levels can damage the back of the eye and lead to complications. It is therefore important that people with diabetes attend annual retinal screening appointments to ensure any early signs of damage are caught.
However, the Jersey government has admitted the diabetic retinal screening service at the Jersey General Hospital was not up to scratch and the tests “had not been carried out fully”.
People with diabetes are now being invited for screenings with the islands health service and those who are deemed as a high priority patient will be seen first.
Dr John McInerney, group medical director for Health and Community Services (HCS), said: “There’s no need for anyone to take action until they receive their personal letter from us about their appointment.
“However, we’d remind patients that if, while waiting for their appointment, they find they are experiencing any problems – such as visual changes or recent unexplained sight changes, even if they’ve recently been screened, or have a date for screening – please see your optometrist as a high priority.”
The screening programme will now include children aged 12 or over, as well as women who develop gestational diabetes.
Bill O’Brien, chairman of Diabetes Jersey’s management committee, said: “For a considerable time, Diabetes Jersey has been concerned at the low level of performance of this particular element of HCS diabetes care and we are obviously pleased that our concerns have, at last, been acted upon.”
He said the plans will “reduce dramatically the waiting time for a retinal test”.