Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has highlighted the fact that the average wait for cataract surgery in Roscommon/Galway is 20 months while children under the age of 12 are waiting 15 months for eye-care in the constituency. Deputy Murphy has called on the Minister for Health to introduce a radical overhaul of eye care services in the country.

Deputy Murphy was responding to a recent survey of eye services carried out by the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) which show that the average wait for cataract surgery across the country is 28 months and up to five years in some parts of the country.

“The survey showed that thee waiting time for public cataract surgery is 20 months in Roscommon/Galway compared to three months for private care which is totally unacceptable. In Sligo/Leitrim the waiting time is 15 months where an award-winning scheme is in place involving greater co-working between Optometrists and the Hospital eye department. I am calling on the Minister for Health to roll out this scheme nationwide immediately in a bid to tackle the growing waiting lists in relation to cataract surgery,” said Deputy Murphy.

“The survey also highlighted the fact that there are serious gaps in children’s eye care with the waiting time for an appointment for children under 12 is 15 months in Roscommon/Galway. The Roscommon/Galway constituency is also one of the areas where the sixth-class vision screening service had been ceased but no alternative local arrangement has been put in place
“In 2016 the HSE wrote to local health offices recommending the ending of the sixth-class service and that alternative local arrangements for children would be developed but this only happened in a hand full of areas. It seems that there is an over reliance HSE Eye Clinics and Hospital Ophthalmology departments to provide almost all public care, including even the most basic and routine care,” said Deputy Murphy.

“I have submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health in relation to this matter – it is time for the Minister to intervene as a radical overhaul of eye care services is needed throughout the country,” concluded Deputy Murphy.