Thursday 26 April 2018

Children wait four years for eye tests

Fiona Ellis

CHILDREN are waiting up to four years for eye examinations, with the delays posing serious risks to children's eye health including irreversible vision problems.

The school eye-screening system is failing children as they are being treated too late, according to optometrists.

The problem is that waiting times for follow-up examinations can be dangerously long, taking almost four years in Kildare, due to a shortage of appointments with eye doctors.

It is a minimum of two years nationwide.

CONCERN

Optometric adviser Lynda McGivney-Nolan said that many of the children's vision problems, if caught and managed before before the age of seven, were reversible.

"Given that the State screening takes place when children are five or six, this means that many children, identified as having a vision concern, are not getting specialist exams until long after age seven," she said.

She was speaking for the launch of the Association of Optometrists Ireland's Bright Eyes awareness week.

A HSE spokesperson said: "The service is dependent on the availability of suitably qualified staff, and this can lead to variances in some areas."

Irish Independent

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