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Eye Surgery Compensation & Ophthalmic Claims

If you have suffered eye problems and injury as a result of an ophthalmologist's avoidable surgical error or misdiagnosis, you may be able to bring a claim.

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Eye claims can be made for ophthalmic injury following negligent treatment by opticians, hospital ophthalmology departments or as a result of negligent laser eye surgery.

Typical mistakes that could give rise to a claim include a failure to recognise or an avoidable delay in treating eye infections, glaucoma or a detached retina. Negligently performed cataract surgery might also be a basis for making an eye related ophthalmic compensation claim.

Eye related claims can stem from problems arising from laser eye surgery to correct refractive errors (LASIK and LASEK surgery). This is not available on the NHS (unless there is a risk of loss of vision) and so is provided by private clinics and commercial companies.

Whatever the cause of damage to your eyes, we would use expert evidence about the nature and extent of your injuries to assess whether a claim would be successful and accurately value any compensation you may be entitled to.

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How do I make an eye related medical negligence claim

A compensation claim would usually be bought against an NHS Trust when eye surgery has gone wrong, or an optician if there was for example a delay in diagnosing glaucoma or against an individual practitioner or company in laser eye surgery cases.

There is usually a three-year time limit from the date of the alleged negligence within which you can make a claim. In some circumstances this can be extended but you should be aware that these can be complex, lengthy and demanding cases. The first thing to do is to contact an expert law firm like Access Legal, which specialises in this sort of work.

It is important that your chosen law firm has relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts who can assess your immediate health needs and suggest what treatments you may urgently require. Their input will be absolutely crucial to getting advice as to what treatment you may need and the success of your compensation claim.

If you feel you may have a case, call us for a free initial consultation. We can give you the benefit of our experience in such claims as well as an objective assessment of the likely success of your claim.

If I have an eye related medical negligence case

Establishing if you have a case for making an eye related medical negligence claim requires exactly the same effort and evidence as any other claim for clinical negligence. As the Claimant you will need to prove with the support of expert lawyers from Access legal that there was a breach of the duty of care owed to you by the optician, hospital ophthalmologist or the laser eye surgery practitioner.

The onus will be on you, the Claimant, to prove that 'on the balance of probability' (i.e. greater than 50% likelihood) it was those failures, before, during or after the procedure that were directly responsible for the injuries you suffered.

In addition, there could have been a failure to gain your informed consent due to the surgeon not giving you adequate information or warnings about the risks of the type procedure itself.
If we can prove that, properly informed and warned, you would not have gone ahead with the procedure, you may be able to make a successful compensation claim.

There are strict time limits within which you can claim so whatever your circumstances you should contact Access Legal as soon as possible. We can then give you free initial advice about whether a claim is possible and establish what additional treatments you may require to help you look to the future.

More about eye related medical negligence claims

Sometimes things can go wrong during eye surgery which justify a claim, for example: a failure to diagnose and treat a retinal detachment, may be negligent and may warrant a claim.

Information and consent is also crucial in determining whether a claim is possible following damage to the eye, particularly after laser eye surgery.

Sometimes, further more conventional surgery is required if laser surgery does go wrong. For example, damage to the corneal curvature can lead to the need for corneal transplantation. If corrective surgery following a failed procedure is required, patients may be asked to sign a 'Without Prejudice' letter confirming that any remedial treatment offered free of charge is accepted in full and final settlement of any claims against the provider.

Signing this letter may mean you cannot bring a compensation claim in future and therefore you should always seek our legal advice before signing any such document.

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Eye injury caused by inappropriate treatment

Access Legal Solicitors recently concluded a claim for damages against Midlands consultant eye surgeon Mr Tristan Reuser at Midland Eye. The case concerned treatment of glaucoma by an ophthalmologist whose clinical interests do not include glaucoma.

According to Amy Greaves, a solicitor in the firm’s medical negligence team, the treatment of such conditions should be undertaken by a specialist ophthalmologist. If a patient sees a doctor privately and they do not have the relevant expertise, an appropriate referral should be made as would happen in the NHS.

Amy handled the successful compensation claim on behalf of Mrs G F, a 69 year-old lady who was treated by Mr Reuser for acute angle closure glaucoma. According to his online profile Mr Reuser specialises in eye plastic surgery, lacrimal, orbital, eyelid tumour and cataract services. Mrs G F who instructed Access Legal Solicitors paid privately for treatment from Mr Reuser to treat her glaucoma conditions.

Mrs G F attended Midland Eye when she suffered an acute loss of vision in her left eye. She was advised to undergo insertion of a multi focal lens. She instead should have been treated with laser iridotomy and a mono focal lens.

Unfortunately, Mrs GF suffered complications which required her to undergo surgery to remove the multi focal lens and undergo insertion of a mono focal lens. Despite this she continued to suffer from difficulties and ultimately required a corneal transplant. She still suffers from distorted vision which continues to impact on her day to day life.

Mrs G F said:

‘My whole life has been affected by the negligent treatment I received. I should be enjoying my retirement with my husband but my much impaired eyesight affects almost everything on a daily basis. I’ve had to attend numerous medical appointments and my independence has been greatly affected.’

Amy Greaves said:

‘It is of course important that any eye condition is swiftly and correctly identified. Any delay in treatment can have devastating consequences and that was the motivation for our client electing to go private. The successful civil claim for Mrs G F was based on the fact that Mr Reuser appears not to be a glaucoma specialist and carried out the wrong procedure.’

During the course of the claim, Mr Reuser admitted that his decision to insert a multi focal lens was negligent. Had Mrs G F undergone laser treatment, or had a mono focal lens been used, on the balance of probabilities, all of her ongoing difficulties would have been avoided.

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Our client, who was 43 at the time, decided to undertake laser eye surgery to improve her vision at a local clinic, franchised as part of a large nationally known firm offering such treatments.

She was told that the ’straightforward’ procedure would reduce her dependence on glasses and cost around £3,000.  She had suffered with a number of eye conditions since childhood, including retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited condition affecting the retina at the back of the eye) but was advised by the clinic that her conditions did not prevent her from undergoing the surgery.

After the surgery she suffered painful symptoms during her recovery. Her vision ultimately deteriorated rendering her far more dependent on glasses than she had been before the operation. She also suffered with symptoms of dry eyes, a common side-effect of laser eye surgery which is permanent.

Unhappy with the outcome and what she suspected might be sub-standard treatment, she instructed Richard Bannister, a lawyer specialising in medical negligence cases at Access Legal, to explore the possibility of making a claim.

Investigations carried out by Richard, a solicitor in the firm’s Birmingham medical negligence team, revealed that the advice to undergo laser eye surgery was inappropriate and that our client was not warned of the risks specific to her.

Her pre-existing eye condition meant that she was likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age. In view of this, it would have been better for her vision to be corrected by way of lens implant when she required surgery for cataracts some time in the future.

In fact she was never advised about this alternative form of treatment. Since March 2015, doctors, surgeons and any other professional offering clinical services must demonstrate that they have obtained a patient’s ‘informed consent’ to a proposed treatment or surgery. Failure to do so constitutes negligence and is a basis for making a claim should the patient suffer any harm. Information about the risks and alternatives should be explained in non-technical language. Reciting a jargon-laden list of medical terms is not enough to demonstrate ‘informed consent’.

There was clearly a failure to obtain that ’informed consent’ in this case, however, in addition Access Legal’s investigations and evidence from experts showed that the laser had been incorrectly programmed to take account of the curvature of the eye and this also contributed to the poor outcome.

The claim against the surgeon and the clinic became more complex and difficult than is usual in these cases since it became apparent that the surgeon had been performing procedures without professional indemnity insurance and the clinic had also been placed into administration, but was continuing to trade. Despite these difficulties, Access Legal continued to fight the legal case resulting in a settlement for a five-figure sum.

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'Access Legal Solicitors got me the rehab I needed and really helped with my family. They were fantastic throughout.'

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Eye Related Ophthalmic Claims

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