The average wait for cataract surgery across the country is 28 months and up to five years in some parts of Ireland, according to a survey carried out by the Association of Optometrists.

The countrywide survey also found that the longest wait for public cataract surgery was 60 months in west Cork.

The shortest delay was 15 months in Sligo and Leitrim due to a scheme involving greater co-working between optometrists and the regional hospital eye department.

In contrast, the study found that the average wait for private cataract surgery across the country was three months.

It also found inconsistency and major gaps in children's public eye care services with an average waiting time of 15 months.

The Association of Optometrists said the survey shows an urgent need for and an overhaul of eye care services.

Association president Triona Culliton said the problem in Ireland was an over-reliance on Health Service Executive eye clinics and hospital ophthalmology departments to provide almost all public care.

She also said the shortest waiting time for cataract surgery was in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency due to the Sligo Cataract Scheme which is in operation.

Ms Culliton has called on the Government to roll out this scheme countrywide.

In a statement, the Department of Health said the Government is committed to driving down waiting lists for cataract surgery. It said that over the past year the number of people waiting for cataract surgery has reduced by over 2,000.

The department added that as part of its Waiting List Action Plan, the National Treatment Purchase Fund will provide 5,000 cataract procedures to patients this year.