Diabetic Retinopathy Screening


The Central Mersey Retinopathy Screening Cluster covers each of the 3  PCTs within the area of the LOC, namely Halton & St Helens, Knowsley and Warrington.

Optometrists are involved in Diabetic Retinopathy screening in each PCT area, covered by the cluster, although the model of screening and roles of the optometrist  vary depending on the PCT. The cluster is part of the Cheshire, Merseyside and West Lancashire screening programme.

St Helens & Knowsley

Screening by optometrists first started in the old St Helens & Knowsley Health Authority area in 1996. It was a joint initiative between the Health Authority (now PCTs), LOC along with both the  eye department and diabetic clinic of St Helens & Knowsley NHS trust.

The scheme has been revered by patients, local GPs, the diabetic clinic and eye department. An audit in 1999 showed good sensitivity and specificity. A patient  survey in 2001 showed a high level of satisfaction in the service and showed that patients particularly welcomed the convenience.

Until recently, Volk lens and SL-BIO is the modality of choice. However, to conform with NSC standards, many of the practices ion the area have purchased digital cameras to start screening digitally.

The new digital version of the screening service has now rolled out to all participating practices in the cluster. All Optometrists in the service will undertake image capture, full disease grade and secondary grade.

Warrington  and Halton

There has been a Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme with Volk lens screening of diabetic patients by optometrists in Halton and Warrington since 1995. The scheme has been revered by patients, local GPs, the diabetic clinic and eye department.

Practices in Warrington are now screening patients using the digital DRSS software. The optometrists involved are not performing first or second disease grades, but will grade ungradable images using Slit-Lamp and Volk lens.

There are also 3 practices in Halton performing Volk lens screening where there are ungradable images. However, there are no practices screening patients using digital imaging at the present time.


This page has the main documents required by practices participating in screening in the Central Mersey cluster.