Most people will visit an Optician at some point for a routine eye test and many will require some form of simple eyesight correction using glasses or contact lenses.

Like GPs, opticians are also in often ideally placed to identify a serious condition. Routine tests can diagnose conditions including; glaucoma, cataract(s), detached retina(s) and brain or optic nerve tumours.

A claim for clinical negligence may arise where an optician or optometrist fails to appreciate key symptoms and does not refer the patient to a specialist ophthalmologist or ophthalmic surgeon for further analysis. A delay in treatment can potentially lead to irreversible damage or even permanent blindness.

Eye treatment claims may also arise where a patient has undergone laser eye surgery. Complaints from patients usually occur when the patient has experienced a worse outcome than they were expecting, although there are recognised risks with every medical procedure and an unfavourable outcome is not always due to negligence.

Potential risks must be disclosed ahead of surgery, to enable the patient to make an informed decision about the procedure. It is also essential to select the most appropriate form of laser eye surgery, taking into account any pre-existing health conditions that may affect the preferred surgical route. Complications resulting from a failure to undertake the correct form of laser eye surgery may give rise to a claim.

If you believe you have received unsatisfactory care or you would like to pursue a claim, please contact a member of Geldards specialist team for an initial consultation free of charge.


RELEVANT CASES

CLAIMANT v UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BRISTOL NHS TRUST

The Claimant had a complaint of deteriorating vision and was referred to BRI; Meningioma showed up on MRI but the Radiologists failed to report on it.

A year later the Claimant suffered increasing pain in the eye & her vision deteriorated further – by which time the tumour had increased in size by 20%. The Claimant required a craniotomy, resection of the Tumour and radiotherapy. The claim was settled shortly before Trial on the basis of a negligent failure of reporting on the MRI and loss of vision in one eye as a consequence.

Damages - £179,000 (including CRU recoupment). Issued and served and Trial date listed.


CLAIMANT v UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BRISTOL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

The Claimant suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and had been a regular patient at Bristol Eye Hospital for a number of years, as a result of fluctuant symptoms of ocular discomfort, particularly dry eyes secondary to the Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The Claimant attended for cautery to the right lower punctum, which was performed under local anaesthetic. However, the Claimant suffered a corneal abrasion leaving permanent scar tissue and impaired vision during the procedure when the Claimant’s right eye was wiped by a nurse when it was not fully closed. No admissions were made in relation to causation or quantum, although the response to the Letter of Claim did admit liability. The Claimant was 53 years old at the date of the injury and following the procedure was left with severe pain in her eye, headaches and reduced visual acuity. The Claimant was advised to exercise great care in negotiating stairs or using potentially hazardous items and had reduced driving ability and reduced capacity for work. Proceedings were issued and served. A Defence admitted negligence, but denied the abrasion suffered during the procedure had left permanent scar tissue and impaired vision. The Claimant was put to strict proof in relation to this.

Lengthy negotiations continued with the Defendant eventually agreeing to compensation in the sum of £35,000 plus payment of costs.


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