Diabetic eye screening: education and training

Training and continuing professional development (CPD) for people working in the diabetic eye screening (DES) programme in England.

This guide sets out the education and training resources for healthcare professionals working in the diabetic eye screening (DES) programme.


e-Learning: screening overview

The interactive learning on screening available from Health Knowledge is helpful for new and non clinical staff or those returning after a long period absent.

Diploma for health screeners: level 3

The level 3 diploma for health screeners is the required training programme for all new diabetic eye screeners who are not already a trained healthcare professional. The rules of combination document details the education and training requirements for the different staff groups within diabetic eye screening. See below for optometrists.

All new graders must undertake and complete the ‘detect retinal disease and classify diabetic retinopathy’ unit before they undertake unsupervised grading. Download the logbook to help learners record the required 200 grades for the learning outcome for the unit.

The diploma is the recommended national training programme for new screeners and successful completion is required to assure the provider of the screeners competence to undertake screening safely, independently and in line with programme standards.

Clinical leads

Clinical leads are responsible for ensuring that all staff that perform a clinical role within a local DES service are:

  • appropriately trained
  • assessed for competence
  • reviewed regularly

Slit lamp examiners

Read the training and accreditation process for people who conduct slit lamp biomicroscopy (SLB) in DES.


Graders are required to use the test and training system to ensure they are working to nationally accepted standards.

The test and training participation guidance explains the different categories of graders who work in the programme and the standards they must meet.

The definitions of retinal image grading criteria document includes examples of graded images used in the DES pathway.


Optometerists can have a variety of roles within DES. The rules of combination document describes the training requirements for optometrists.

Administrative staff

Training, education and development of administrative staff is the responsibility of local programmes.

Local diabetic eye screening providers should implement:

This will help to make sure administrative work is carried out effectively and appropriately.

Education and training: all programmes

Read and download education and training resources for all screening programmes. This includes:

  • the screening timeline
  • events
Published 8 December 2017
Last updated 16 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added link to logbook for learners to record the required 200 grades.

  2. Clarified the importance of the screener diploma.

  3. First published.