Optometrists have warned that the waiting list for eye-care is 'unacceptably high' at more than 42,300.
Optometry Ireland has said it has available capacity to get more patients seen sooner.
National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures to December 2022 show 33,268 people were on the outpatient eye-care waiting list - with more than 12,118 of these waiting more than a year.
Some 9,108 were awaiting inpatient eye procedures, with almost 1,000 people for over a year.
Optometry Ireland is calling on the HSE and Department of Health to engage with optometrists to make greater use of their capacity.
Spokesperson John Weldon told Newstalk Breakfast they can, and should, be doing more.
"There was a change in legislation in 2015, under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act, which changed the status of optometrists and their duties and responsibilities," he said.
"Now within their scope of practice optometrists are qualified and legislatively protected to diagnose certain conditions.
"The big things we're talking about are children's eye-care and, as we get older, most of us will develop cataracts.
"We think that the waiting lists in these two areas are unacceptably long".
He said optometrists and hospitals should be sharing the workload.
"Back in 2012 we liaised with the department in Sligo General Hospital, whereby we authored a shared-care scheme," he said.
"The administrative, follow-up and initial presentation work was all managed by local optometrists - freeing the surgeons up to conduct the surgery.
"In that period of time... the waiting lists went from three to four years to three to six months," he added.
Listen back to the full interview below: