Diabetic retinopathy screening in adolescent patients

The English National Screening Programme for Diabetic Retinopathy states that “All people with diabetes aged 12 years and older should be offered screening for sight-threatening DR using digital photography for quality assurance purposes”.

Adolescents with diabetes do not typically develop sight-threatening DR until puberty or older, although it is very important that they do continue with management of their diabetes as well as possible.

Previous studies have been carried out to look into screening for DR in adolescent patients, a majority of the studies showed that a small percentage of adolescent patients under the average age of 11 develop DR. These studies show evidence that screening should ideally start at the age of 12.

The aim of the audit is to assess whether 12 years is the correct age to start screening for diabetic retinopathy in adolescent patients.

By Aisha Hamid