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Irish people going blind waiting for cataract surgery

Ireland could save €76 million annually if earlier intervention was prioritised.
Apr 3rd 2014, 4:59 PM 10,624 16

FIVE PEOPLE ARE going blind here every week despite 75-80 per cent of blindness being preventable.

That’s according to a report by the National Vision Coalition.

More than 220,000 people in Ireland are blind or visually impaired.

The report found that Ireland could save €76 million annually if earlier intervention was prioritised.

Blindness and vision impairment currently costs the state €205 million.

Research by the Mater Private Healthcare Group also found that patients needing cataract surgery in Ireland are three times more likely to go blind waiting for treatment here compared to Northern Ireland.

They group compared 3,000 public patients in Ireland with public patients north of the border.

As it stands some public patients in Ireland are waiting up to 12 months for cataract surgery and their sight is deteriorating during this time, in some cases to the point of blindness.

The National Healthcare Conference in Dublin earlier this week heard that the waiting time should be reduced to a maximum of three months.

Mater Private Healthcare Group CEO Fergus Clancy said “There is enough capacity to meet demand for cataract surgery in this country.

No one should have to wait more than three months. Effective collaboration between the public and private healthcare sectors would see wait-times for cataract slashed.

The report, Economic Cost and Burden of Eye Diseases and Preventable Blindness in Ireland stated that 260 people a year could be saved from blindness.

 

Read: Trinity researchers make blindness breakthrough>

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Cliodhna Russell

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