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March 18, 2003 4:12 PM

Scotland's largest eye screening programme for people with diabetes will be launched at Glasgow's Royal Infirmary at 10.30am on Tuesday 18th March 2003. Eye disease associated with diabetes is the main cause of blindness in people of working age however the disease can be effectively treated if detected at an early stage.

The Greater Glasgow retinal screening programme will use hi-tech specialist cameras and computerised equipment to obtain digital images of the back area of the eye know as the retina. Images will then be reviewed by a trained screener, optometrist or ophthalmologist according to the level of analysis required.

Everyone with diabetes over the age of 12 who is registered with a GP practice in Greater Glasgow will be offered screening on an annual basis, as part of a national screening initiative recommended by the former Health Technology Board for Scotland. It is estimated that around 20,000 people in Glasgow suffer from diabetes.

Patients will be contacted direct by letter and invited to attend a screening session at centres based in the following four hospitals - Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Victoria Infirmary, Southern General and Gartnavel General Hospital.

Dr Fraser MacLeod, Chair of the Glasgow Diabetes Project Steering Group, said:

"It is estimated that that around 35% of the Glasgow diabetic population have retinopathy. In its early stages, the disease is symptom free so regular screening is vital to spot changes before the disease progresses to a critical stage."

The retinal screening programme is one of a number of initiatives being taken forward by Greater Glasgow Primary Care Trust to improve health services for people with diabetes. Future plans include the introduction of a comprehensive new care system for people with Type 2 diabetes and the development of a shared electronic health record.

Dr Harry Burns, Director of Public Health for NHS Greater Glasgow, said:

"The launch of this new service is an important part of a major programme to improve the health and well being of people with diabetes across the city. Staff in hospitals and in the community are working closely together to develop better ways of managing this condition and reduce the health problems which it can cause."

Note to Editors
You are invited to sent a film crew, photographer, reporter to

Event: Launch of the Greater Glasgow retinal screening programme
Date: Tuesday 18th March 2003
Time: 10.30am *(advance filming opportunities available from 9.30am)
Location: Retinal screening clinic, Glasgow Royal Infirmary (please report to the entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Building on Alexandra Parade)
Photo filming opportunities There will be an opportunity to film/photograph a diabetic patient undergoing retinal screening. Digital images of the retina will also be available. Interview opportunities Dr Fraser MacLeod, Chair of the Glasgow Diabetes Project
Opportunities: Steering Group, Dr William Wykes, Consultant Ophthalmologist and lead clinician for the Glasgow Retinal Screening Programme and retinal screening nurses will be available for interview.

Media Contact Elsbeth Campbell – 0141 211 3891

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015