Sligo and Leitrim have some of the lowest cataract surgery waiting times

Sligo and Leitrim have the shortest waiting times for cataract surgery.

According to a new survey the two northwest counties buck the national trend of having very lengthy waiting times for this eye surgery due the Sligo Cataract Scheme.

Today’s report by the Association of Optometrists Ireland – shows that there’s an average national waiting time of 28 months for public cataract surgery in Ireland.

It’s up to 5 years in some areas like West Cork.

But Sligo and Leitrim buck the national trend with a waiting time of less than a year.

It’s being attributed to the Sligo Cataract Scheme – a scheme that optometrists say has proven highly successful in reducing waiting times for patients and in reducing costs in that region.

Under the scheme cataracts patients are co-managed by Optometrists in the community and Ophthalmologists in Hospital. The scheme simplifies the patient pathway and speeds up access.

The reports says rolling out the scheme nationwide could save up to 20,000 hospital appointments per annum and reduce system costs.

The report also shows that there’s no public eye care scheme for 12 to 16 year old in half the country.

In 36 of 40 constituencies there’s no sixth-class vision screening service while an alternative service is only available in a quarter of those areas.

The AOI is calling for the introduction of a national eye-care scheme for all children up to 16.