Delay in diabetes eye screen plan
Fears are growing about a major delay in the launch of a new diabetes eye screening programme aimed at preventing blindness in those with the condition.
According to the campaign group Diabetes Action and Ireland's national sight loss agency, the NCBI, 18 months after the HSE announced plans to develop a €4 million national eye screening programme to identify diabetic retinopathy, little progress has been made and patients are unlikely to be screened until mid-2013.
Over 18,000 people in Ireland are estimated to have diabetic retinopathy (DR) which causes on average one person with diabetes to go blind each year.
The two campaign groups say the screening programme is likely to be delayed from a projected start date of late 2012 until the middle of 2013.
They say the delay increases the chance of thousands more people developing sight-threatening retinopathy.
"Sight loss is a preventable complication of diabetes, and we need to get the screening process started as soon as possible in order to prevent more patients unnecessarily developing visual impairment," said Dr Kevin Moore of the Irish Endocrine Society and Chair of Diabetes Action.
"Clinicians want people with diabetes to be offered eye-screening annually to detect DR and to ensure early diagnosis and treatment – it is one of the most important goals for diabetes care in Ireland and will impact on the quality of life for thousands of people living with diabetes", Dr Moore added.
Progress on the screening programme has been stalled because key personnel are not in place, according to Diabetes Action and the NCBI.
[Posted: Tue 24/04/2012]