Laser Eye Surgery Negligence Compensation Claims

Compensation Claims For Medical Negligence In Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery negligence

Laser eye surgery negligence

If you or a loved one has been injured by laser eye surgery negligence you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. This guide is aimed at providing information for people who have been harmed during a procedure and who wish to learn more about claiming compensation either from the NHS or a private medical services provider.

The guide includes information about laser eye surgery, how negligence could cause you an injury, and how you could make a medical negligence claim against a negligent third party. We look at the risks associated with laser eye surgery, and circumstances for which you could or could not claim compensation. We also look at how much time you may have to begin your medical negligence claim and what you could be compensated for.

At the bottom of the guide we have also provided additional sources of medical information for those affected by medical negligence. If after reading our guide you wish to find out if you have a valid medical negligence claim please get in contact with our team. We work with a panel of medical negligence solicitors who could help you.

Contact us on 0800 652 3087 to start your laser eye surgery negligence claim.

Select A Section

What Are Laser Eye Treatments And Surgery?

If you need surgery to improve or to correct your eyesight, you could undergo a procedure called vision correction or refractive surgery. When you visit a hospital or clinic, the surgeon assessing you will recommend the procedure best suited to correct your vision. Whilst there are two kinds of procedure by which you may have been treated and harmed, in this article we are focusing on medical negligence in laser eye surgery.

Laser eye surgery is a procedure which could be used to improve a person’s vision, making them less dependent on wearing glasses or contact lenses. In the majority of cases people are very happy with the results of their treatment. Laser eye surgery is a relatively common procedure and is deemed quite safe.

The procedure may be used to correct long or short-sightedness and uses lasers to reshape a cornea, allowing an eye to focus better. There are three types of laser eye surgery which are as follows:

  • LASIK
  • LASEK
  • SMILE

The first two procedures are more common than third. LASIK is performed with two lasers and involves opening a surface flap on the cornea. LASEK removes the clear skin which covers the cornea, to reshape the cornea below. The final procedure called SMILE creates a small hole to reshape the cornea.

You can learn more about what laser eye surgery is and what the procedure involves in this guide from the NHS.

What Is Negligent Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery involves making cuts, holes or flaps in the outer layer of the cornea to alter the shape, or the structure of the inner layer of the cornea. The procedure is designed to improve a person’s eyesight and involves working with lasers on a very small area. To carry it out, the surgeon requires a high degree of care and precision. As such, there are ways in which laser eye surgery could go wrong.

Laser eye surgery could have gone wrong where a patient received medical treatment which did not meet acceptable and required standards which resulted in them suffering an injury that could have been avoided. Should this be the case, you may be entitled to file a laser eye surgery compensation claim against the negligent third party.

Negligent laser eye surgery could include:

  • Failing to fully inform a patient about the possible risks of undergoing laser eye surgery and thus failing to gain informed consent
  • Failing to carry out a full assessment of a potential patient and making sure that this procedure is suitable for them
  • Causing injury to the cornea whilst carrying out laser eye surgery
  • Causing an infection which they subsequently either failed to treat correctly

Negligent laser eye surgery could lead to differing levels of harm being caused. A patient may experience partial or even complete loss of sight in the affected eye. You could also find that your vision becomes blurry, or that you are extremely sensitive to light. You may also experience either dry eyes or excessive watering of the eye.

Currently there is no specific register of doctors able to perform the procedure, and a doctor carrying out laser eye surgery does not need to specialise in this field.

What Are The Potential Risks Of Laser Eye Surgery Procedures?

Around 95% of those who undergo laser eye surgery are satisfied with the results. The majority of patients will not have any harmful complications aside from mild discomfort which is to be expected.

However in a small number of procedures, there may be mistakes or errors which lead to a patient being harmed. In such instances there are potential complications which could arise due to negligent eye surgery.

Aside from the more serious injuries such as partial loss of sight or even complete loss of sight, you could also find that your vision is not as strong as it was before in certain situations which includes at night. If the eye cannot take in as much light as before, night vision could be seriously and negatively impacted.

Your vision may also be affected by scarring on the cornea. You could also find that you experience double vision, or that you see a ‘ghost’ image over the real image. The eye as a whole could be impacted and become very inflamed. In the most serious cases the eye may fully close over.

Additional potential risks of laser eye surgery which should be explained to you could include:

  • Red markings on the whites of the eye which was treated which should fade in around four weeks
  • Mild discomfort in the eye which has been treated. You may need to use artificial tears in the form of eye drops, and symptoms could last for between three and six months.
  • Disturbances to your vision. These will often resolve by themselves but sometimes may need treatment

Was Your Injury An Expected Or Unexpected Risk?

Any surgical procedure which you undergo may have expected risks. This is why the doctor carrying out your procedure should fully explain your procedure and any potential risks to you, before gaining informed consent.

You can read more about ethical guidelines and consent in medical treatment in these guidelines produced by the General Medical Council.

When having a surgical procedure such as this, there may be expected side effects and risks such as pain and discomfort, blurred vision, or sensitivity. Such symptoms should typically be mild and should not last for too long.

What you should not expect is to be left with any side effects which last over the long-term or which are severe. Such side effects may be considered to be unacceptable and may include the following:

  • Long-term damage to your eyesight which leads to a deterioration of your vision
  • Permanent scarring on your cornea
  • Partial loss of sight
  • Complete loss of sight

Laser eye surgery compensation claims may typically be made in instances where the claimant received substandard care and was harmed as a result of this. Effects suffered may be those discussed in this guide, or others. To find out whether you have grounds to file a negligence claim for compensation, please contact one of our advisers today.

Risks Of Laser Eye Surgery Which You Could Claim For

As we have explored, in a small percentage of instances patients may experience harmful negligence in laser eye surgery. Patients who have been harmed by laser eye surgery gone wrong could use a personal injury lawyer to help them claim compensation.

Risks associated with this procedure which we have previously identified, and for which you could claim compensation may include:

  • Temporary, partial or total loss of sight (blindness) in the eye or eyes which have been treated
  • Scarring to the cornea, affecting the eye’s ability to take in light reducing the patients night vision. May also have other negative effects on the patient’s vision
  • Higher sensitivity to light and principally to bright lights
  • Double vision

You may have experienced other harmful, unexpected and avoidable side effects due to negligent eye surgery. The important thing in making a claim is that another party was responsible for what happened, and that it could have been avoided.

Who Caused Your Injury?

Laser eye surgery may be carried out by a doctor or a surgeon. Currently, there are no requirements for those carrying out this type of procedure to specialise, or to be registered.

If you have been harmed by negligent laser eye surgery, it is likely to have been caused by various parties. it could be the doctor or surgeon who carried out your laser eye surgery, or against the hospital where the laser eye surgery was carried out.

A surgeon may be found to have been at fault and that they did not meet acceptable standards. Hospitals or clinical facilities, may be found to have been at fault if their facilities or equipment were found to be substandard, or they caused the harm to you.

In the early stages of the claims process, your medical negligence solicitor would investigate what happened to you to determine which party could be held responsible for the laser eye injury you sustained through negligence.

Eligibility To Make A Laser Eye Surgery Negligence Claim

In most laser eye surgery negligence claims, you will probably be alleging that the doctor or surgeon who carried out your procedure did so in a negligent way. Medical professionals and healthcare service providers, owe their patients a duty of care. If they do not meet this duty of care, whether through an accident or an error, and it causes a patient harm the patient, it could be grounds to file a claim for compensation. As this procedure could be carried out through the NHS, or at a private healthcare practice, you may be entitled to make a private or NHS compensation claim for medical negligence.

You could be eligible to make a laser eye surgery compensation claim if:

  • Your initial treating optician or doctor did not send you to an appropriate specialist for assessment and you were prescribed an unsuitable procedure which caused you harm
  • If your optician failed to diagnose and treat the symptoms of an eye condition caused by the procedure after the laser eye surgery had been carried out
  • If you were recommended laser eye surgery when it was not the right procedure to correct your vision

If you need to claim compensation for laser eye surgery gone wrong, the panel of solicitors we work with could  assist you in pursuing your claim against a negligent third party.

Damages A Laser Eye Surgery Negligence Compensation Claim Could Include

If you have been affected by laser eye surgery negligence and wish to seek compensation, one of your first questions may be ‘what can be included in a medical negligence claim?’ It is not possible for us to tell you how much compensation your particular laser eye surgery negligence claim may be worth because every injury and claim is different.

When you first get in contact with us we will look at how eye surgery negligence has affected you, and whether or not you could claim compensation from a negligent third party. We will then look at whether one of our panel of solicitors could assist you in pursuing your claim. Before they are able to estimate how much your private healthcare or NHS compensation may be, the solicitor would need to be given as much evidence as possible in support of your claim.

You would be awarded general damages and special damages which are explained below.

General damages

This part of a medical negligence claim takes account of the injuries to your eye or eyes and will factor in for the damage caused and its long term effects as well as the suffering and pain caused. The level of compensation you would receive would depend on the extent of the damage and a court, solicitor or insurer would base the amount on the Judicial College Guidelines.

Special damages

This is the second component of medical negligence claims and  is designed to compensate you for the wider impact that the eye surgery negligence had on you. The purpose of laser eye surgery negligence claims, or of any type of claim, is to restore the claimant to the position they would have been in before the accident happened.

They may reimburse you if you had to pay for additional private medical care, such as visiting a private eye care clinic. You may also be compensated for loss of income or for other reasonable financial costs related to your injury.

Contact our team to see how a laser eye surgery negligence claim could compensate you.

How Long Do I Have To Claim For Laser Eye Surgery Medical Negligence?

There is a  medical negligence claim time limit that must be respected. Ideally, we would recommend that as soon as you can, you should contact a personal injury solicitor to ensure your claim is not ‘time barred’ which in short, would mean you ran out of time to seek compensation from a negligent third party.

The time limit is typically 3 years from the date you suffered an injury, or three years from when a doctor diagnoses you as suffering from an eye condition directly linked to the negligent laser eye surgery you received.

If, however, you were under the age of 18 when you underwent a negligent laser eye surgery treatment, you have up until you are 21 years of age to seek compensation.

There are also circumstances where the more general personal injury claims time limit of three years is not applicable and different time limits apply. As such, it is best to call a member of our team sooner rather than later.

Type Of Claim / ClaimantNotesTime Limit
ChildrenChildren are not able to make a personal injury claim by themselves. The claim must be brought by a suitable adult on their behalf prior to their eighteenth birthday. After this, they are then able to make a claim.Parents can claim up to the child's 18th birthday.

Three years from the child's 18th birthday.
Date of knowledgeWhere the date of knowledge (the date on which you discovered you were injured) is different to the alleged date on which the negligence occurred.Three years from the data of knowledge.
Diminished mental capacityIf the victim of an accident does not have sufficient mental capacity to understand the process of claiming compensation, another person may be able to make a compensation claim on their behalf. Alternatively, there is no time limit till they are able to make the clamThere is a three year time limit which takes effect once the victim is deemed fit to make a claim.
Death and fatal accidentsIf the victim of medical negligence dies during the three year period, this period may then be extended. This extension will run from the death of the victim, or people's knowledge of the death.3 years from death / date of knowledge for the estate of the deceased to claim.

No Win No Fee Laser Eye Surgery Negligence Claims

If you have been injured because of laser eye surgery negligence caused by a technician, doctor or hospital, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim for damages. If you do intend on filing claim, you may wish to use the services of a medical negligence solicitor who would represent you on a No Win No Fee basis if they find that you have a strong case against the negligent third party.

Potentially facing high costs which can be associated with using a solicitor can be one of the major factors which put people off making such claims. If your injuries left you unable to work, the potential costs of legal action could also put you off. Instead of facing issues around paying for a personal injury solicitors services, take advantage of using a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor from our panel. This means that you could make a claim without having to worry about how to pay a solicitor.

The process of being able to make a No Win No Fee claim was introduced as a way for people to seek compensation for injuries and harm suffered through no fault of their own without having to worry about the legal fees. A No Win No Fee contract is an agreement made between a medical negligence solicitor and the claimant. If they are not able to successfully claim compensation, a No Win No Fee solicitor will not charge you for the legal services they provided.

Medical Resources And Claims Guides

If you are not quite ready to start a laser eye surgery negligence claim, or feel that you need more information about how a solicitor could help, you can find information below. We have included government and medical references as well as other medical claims guides which you can find on our site.

Laser Radiation Safety Advice
This government advice looks at the safe usage of laser devices, which may include equipment for laser eye surgery procedures.

British Medical Journal – Laser Eye Surgery
This article from the BMJ looks at laser refractive eye surgery. It includes information on potential errors.

Laser Eye Surgery And Lens Surgery
At this NHS resources you can learn more about laser eye surgery and lens surgery procedures.

Negligent Surgery Compensation
Negligence and avoidable errors could happen in many surgical procedures. This article looks in detail at surgery compensation claims.

Negligent Hospital Treatment
Negligent eye surgery may be considered a form of negligent hospital treatment. Here you can learn more about claiming compensation for negligent treatment at a hospital.

Article by RB

Editor Honey