Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (102)

Éamon Ó Cuív


102. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the phased roll out of the national diabetic retinopathy screening programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30440/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE commenced the national diabetic retinopathy screening programme (Diabetic RetinaScreen) in February 2013.

Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and the leading cause of blindness among working age Irish adults. Approximately 10 per cent of the Irish diabetic population has sight-threatening Diabetic Retinopathy and around 90 per cent of this group will develop some form of retinopathy.

Diabetic RetinaScreen offers free, annual diabetic retinopathy screening to people with diabetes aged 12 and older (approximately 190,000 people). All people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes that can lead to deterioration in vision. Eye screening uses specialised digital photography to detect, at an early stage, when it is effective at reducing or preventing damage to sight. The aim of the programme is to reduce the risk of sight loss amongst people with diabetes.

A quality assurance framework and a central database of the eligible diabetic population has been developed for the programme. The first round of screening is being introduced on a phased basis, in line with the roll-out of the first round of screening across other international programmes. Approximately 30 per cent of the eligible diabetic population is expected to be invited in 2013. The remaining 70 per cent will be screened in 2014. Treatment is tailored on a case-by-case basis.

Two companies have been contracted to provide photography and grading services for the programme. Work is ongoing with six treatment centres (Mater Hospital, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Waterford Regional Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital, Cork University Hospital and Mid-Western Regional Hospital) to provide treatment for screened clients.