Waiting lists for eye care in Ireland have increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, with 52,000 people now listed for eventual treatment.

Of the 52,000, 43,000 were on the outpatient eye care waiting list, with almost 21,000 of these expecting waits of over a year and nearly 14,000 waiting for more than 18 months.

President of the Association of Optometrists Ireland, Patricia Dunphy branded these numbers ‘out of control’ and called for ‘urgent reform of how services are planned and delivered’.

Dunphy noted that waiting times are shortest in the north-west of the country, where the Sligo Post-Cataract Scheme is in effect, and has called for its expansion. The scheme provides eye care appointments in community optometrists practices through the integration of hospital ophthalmology departments and regional optometrists.