Patients are at risk of going blind because of long NHS waits to treat eye conditions, it has been claimed.
Junior doctors at University Hospital Southampton warned patients with serious eye conditions were not being given follow-up appointments amid staff shortages.
An investigation, reported in the Health Service Journal, has so far identified 38 patients who have suffered a worsening of their condition due to the situation.
At least 7,000 patients suffering from conditions like glaucoma were not given appointments.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists said similar problems were likely to be occurring elsewhere because of the national shortage of consultants.
By January, the backlog had reached 7,000 patients, including 4,500 with glaucoma and 2,500 with diabetes-related eye problems.
Around 3,000 glaucoma patients are still to be notified and reviewed, with “significant progress” made among diabetes patients, the trust said.
Both conditions are among the leading causes of blindness.
Research by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists suggests 230 new ophthalmology consultants are needed to deal with the rising demand.