Waiting lists 'put children's eyesight at risk'
CHILDREN risk having serious eye problems or even blindness due to long waiting lists at the three main children's hospitals, the head of a charity has warned.
Children in Hospital Ireland chief executive Mary O'Connor said reports that more than 4,200 children were waiting to be seen at ophthalmology clinics at Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin (OLCHC) and the National Children's Hospital in Tallaght were worrying and unacceptable.
More than 350 children are waiting up to three years to be seen at Our Lady's Children's Hospital. The majority, 615 children, are waiting between six months and a year to be seen.
"I'm sure there are a percentage that have serious conditions that could result in children going blind," Ms O'Connor told the Irish Independent.
Last night, the HSE admitted that there were "gaps" in the service and said it was working to address the problem.
Dr Colm Costigan, clinical director for all three children's hospitals, also said that a lack of ophthalmic services at community hospitals was partially responsible for the backlog.