Last updated on April 8th, 2022
In this guide to ophthalmology negligence claims, we are going to explain when a negligence claim for compensation might be possible, what forms of negligence could result in a claim, the problems that can result, and what amount of compensation could be paid for avoidable eye injuries.
If you are thinking of claiming, our medical negligence team are here to help you. By calling us on 0800 6524 881, you’ll be able to discuss your situation with a claims advisor who will give free advice and a no-obligation case review. Should your claim be strong enough, we could connect you with one of our medical negligence solicitors. To reduce the stress and financial risks associated with claiming, they’ll provide a No Win No Fee service if your claim is taken on.
To learn more about ophthalmology negligence claims, please read on. Alternatively, please get in touch if you’d like to start your claim right away.
Table of contents
- What Is An Ophthalmologist?
- When Is Ophthalmology Surgery Carried Out?
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For Ophthalmology Negligence?
- Ophthalmic Negligence That Could Lead To A Compensation Claim
- Types of Ophthalmic Surgery
- Ophthalmology Pre-op Testing Procedures
- How Much Compensation For Ophthalmology Negligence?
- Calculating Compensation For Ophthalmology Negligence
- Ophthalmology Negligence Claims Time Limits
- Why Use A Medical Negligence Solicitor For Ophthalmology Compensation Claims?
Ophthalmologists are doctors that specialise in treating eye problems. As medical professionals, they have the same duty of care towards their patients as other doctors and surgeons. That means that whether you’re receiving cataract surgery or elective laser eye surgery, you would expect a high level of care and a positive outcome. While that is the norm, mistakes can happen and they can sometimes lead to serious sight problems.
An ophthalmologist may decide to perform surgery on the whole eye or any part of the eye if there are no non-surgical corrective options available. Some of the more common conditions when surgery is performed are to repair retinal defects, correct vision irregularities, restore the muscles in the eye, and treat cataracts, glaucoma, wet macular degeneration, and cancers. A delay in getting the necessary ophthalmology surgery to treat eye-related problems could result in impaired or lost vision.
The process of claiming for medical negligence is somewhat different to that involved with personal injury claims. To establish ophthalmology medical negligence, you will need to prove that:
- A breach of duty took place (referred to as fault or negligence); and
- Your eye injury resulted from the breach of duty (also called avoidable harm or causation).
Neither of these things is particularly easy to achieve. For this reason, we believe it’s best to have the support of a medical negligence solicitor. If your case is taken on, the Bolam test will be used to check for breach of duty. This will check whether the treatment you received was below the standard that you’d reasonably expect from a competent medical professional.
Then medical evidence would be needed to establish causation. Essentially, this needs to show that the ophthalmologist’s negligence was the direct cause of your injuries and not some underlying condition.
Our team of experienced medical negligence solicitors know exactly what evidence will be required to prove your claim and what medical reports are needed. In any ophthalmology compensation claim, a medical assessment will be needed. It will be performed by an independent medical specialist.
They will review your medical records and discuss how your eye injury has impacted upon your daily life. They will also perform an eye examination. Once they have completed their assessment, a medical report will be created for all parties involved. It will explain your injuries and provide a prognosis as well. To reduce the amount of travelling involved, our solicitors can usually arrange these appointments locally.
In addition to this medical report, you could provide any documentation you received prior to your treatment and write your own statement about what happened.
If you’d like us to review your case for free, and to check if you could be entitled to compensation following ophthalmic negligence, please call today.
There are various mistakes and errors that could lead to an ophthalmology negligence claim. Some examples include:
- Delay in diagnosis of an eye infection, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
- Medical misdiagnosis and failure to treat eye infection, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
- Mistreatment of corneal abrasions.
- Negligent cataract surgery.
- Negligent retinal detachment surgery.
- Negligent eye laser treatment
- Failure to obtain medical history, allergy details or pre-operative consent.
- Failure to inform the patient of the risks of the procedure.
If your vision is temporarily or permanently damaged due to any of the above reasons, you may eligible to claim compensation.
Some of the more common ophthalmic surgeries include:
- Refractive surgery. Where a laser is used to reshape the cornea.
- Cataract surgery. This is where the original cataract is replaced with an artificial lens to restore vision.
- Laser photocoagulation. Treatment to address some type of age-related macular degeneration. Blood vessels are burned by the laser to stop them from leaking.
- Orbital surgery. Performed on those with congenital defects that cause tumours.
- Surgery with a laser to open the iris or drainage canals to improve aqueous flow.
Before proceeding with any invasive ophthalmic procedure, the ophthalmologist should first perform a series of tests to determine the extent of the problem and to explore alternative non-invasive treatments.
First, the ophthalmologist will record your medical history, taking details about any allergies or any other contraindications. The practitioner will then proceed to check your eyes thoroughly through a series of advanced tests. The exact tests that are carried out will depend on your symptoms and the proposed surgery.
A fundus exam may be carried out to check for retinal holes and macular degeneration and disease. Corneal mapping and a slit lamp exam are other ways to check if there is any damage to the cornea, and to determine the presence of a cataract or glaucoma. A keratometer reading may be taken to understand the curvature of the central part of the cornea.
Other, more complex tests may be conducted depending on the doctor’s findings.
Some of the symptoms of eye injuries that could lead to ophthalmology negligence claims include:
- Full or partial loss of sight.
- Migraines and headaches.
- Double vision.
- Dry eyes.
- Blurred vision.
If you believe you have suffered because of ophthalmic negligence, please call today for a free review of your case.
The simple answer is, there isn’t a set amount of compensation for ophthalmology negligence. Therefore, it’s important to get the value of your claim right. As well as establishing how your eye injuries have affected you so far, you’ll also need to establish whether you’ll continue to suffer in the future. This is why the prognosis from your medical report is so important. When a medical negligence solicitor calculates a claim, they’ll separate it into two parts:
- General damages. This part of the claim is based on the pain and suffering resulting from your injuries. It also includes loss of amenity. This is where a value is placed on things that you enjoyed doing previously but cannot do any more because of your eye injuries.
- Special damages. Covers financial costs and losses caused directly by your injuries. This could include loss of income, travel costs, care costs, medical expenses and also future loss of earnings.
Further information on these two types of damages can be found here.
Importantly, there are no two ophthalmology compensation claims the same. Therefore, although we have provided a compensation calculator below, please bear in mind that the amount you might be paid if your claim is successful could differ. Furthermore, as explained in the previous section, claims include more than just the pain and suffering you’ve endured because of your eye injuries.
As solicitors can use the Judicial College Guidelines when determining settlement amounts, we’ve used the same figures in our calculator.
Something that’s very important to consider is the psychological impact of eye injuries. They can cause anxiety, distress, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem. These can all have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. Therefore, it may be possible to claim for this type of suffering when making your claim.
If you’d like to find out how much your claim might be worth, please contact our team today.
If you claim for suffering caused by ophthalmology negligence, you’ll need to stick to the time limits. Generally, this is a 3-year period. It will usually start from the date you were treated. However, it could begin later, from your date of knowledge, if you didn’t find out about the injuries and their cause until later. If you’re claiming for a child injured by an ophthalmologist, please contact us and we’ll be happy to explain the litigation friend process, and how long you’ll have to claim.
We always advise potential clients to begin an ophthalmology negligence claim as soon as possible. That’s because your solicitor has several tasks to complete before filing the claim. This includes gathering evidence and arranging medical appointments. By starting the claims process early, you’ll also find it easier to recall what happened and how you’ve been affected.
Please call 0800 6524 881 when you’re ready to claim and we’ll start the ball rolling.
As we explained earlier, ophthalmology compensation claims aren’t easy to make. Generally, the claim will be handled by NHS Resolution or a private insurance company. Before they admit liability for your eye injuries, they’ll need to see adequate evidence as to why you blame the defendant for them.
We strongly believe that compensation claims are made easier when you have a specialist solicitor working for you. If you’re claim is taken on by one of ours, they’ll handle all of the complex medical and technical questions that are likely to arise. Additionally, they will argue your case if objections are raised over liability and supply additional evidence where possible. Throughout the claims process, they’ll provide regular updates and be available to answer any questions you might think of.
Importantly, our solicitors won’t simply settle for the first compensation offer they receive. Before accepting any settlement, it will be thoroughly checked to ensure it covers all of your suffering. If it doesn’t they’ll go back and try to secure a fairer amount for you.
If you would like to check if you could be compensated for your suffering caused by an eye injury, please call us today. We will review your claim carefully and explain your options for free. If your ophthalmology negligence claim has strong grounds, we’ll connect you with one of our medical negligence solicitors who’ll process your claim on a No Win No Fee basis if they accept it.