Diabetes mellitus has become a global epidemic. It causes significant macrovascular complications such as coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke; as well as microvascular complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy. Diabetic retinopathy is known to be the leading cause of blindness in the working-age population and may be asymptomatic until vision loss occurs. Screening for diabetic retinopathy has been shown to reduce blindness by timely detection and effective laser treatment. Diabetic retinopathy screening is being done worldwide either as a national screening programme or hospital-based project or as a community-based screening programme. In this article, we review different methods of screening including grading used to detect the severity of sight-threatening retinopathy and the newer screening methods. This review also includes the method of systematic screening being carried out in Hong Kong, a system that has helped to identify diabetic retinopathy among all attendees in public primary care clinics using a Hong Kong–wide public patients’ database.
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