Waiting lists to see an eye specialist in Ireland have risen to 41,600 – an increase of almost 2,000 since last year.

Of these, about 16,000 were waiting for more than a year and over 10,000 for longer than 18 months, according to the Association of Optometrists (AOI).

Excessive waiting times were put down to a hospital-centric approach to eye care. β€˜In Ireland, we have an unusual over-reliance on hospital ophthalmology departments. This is a flawed approach that cannot and will not meet patient demand,’ said the AOI.

It called for more prescribing rights for specialists to alleviate pressure on hospitals.