Have you experienced poor care from an ophthalmologist that resulted in avoidable harm caused by negligence? If so, our guide could help inform you of the next steps you may be able to take such as making an ophthalmic negligence claim.
Our guide will be looking at how an ophthalmologist could have been negligent by breaching their duty of care.
For instance, we’ll be exploring how you can prove they were negligent by looking at whether they provided substandard care when diagnosing or treating you. And whether you suffered further harm that could have been avoided had you received the correct care.
Furthermore, our guide will be providing you with an idea of how much compensation you could claim for medical negligence that led to an eye injury and the different damages you could be compensated for. As well as guiding you through how your medical negligence solicitor could be funded with a No Win No Fee agreement.
For more information, contact us on the following details:
- Telephone on 0800 652 3087
- Chat with us using the live chat feature at the bottom of this page
- Send us an enquiry and we’ll respond at a time convenient to you
Select A Section
- What Is Ophthalmic Negligence?
- Common Eye Conditions
- Types Of Ophthalmic Treatments
- What Is Negligent Treatment For Eye Conditions And Injuries?
- Types Of Ophthalmic Negligence Treatment Claims
- Misdiagnosis Of An Eye Condition
- What Are The Consequences Of Negligence?
- Time Limits Ophthalmic Negligence Compensation
- Ophthalmic Negligence Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Ophthalmic Negligence Compensation Claims
- Get Help With Your Claim
- Statistics – What Is The Cost Of Clinical Negligence?
- Related Articles
- Frequently Asked Questions
The word ophthalmic relates to the eyes and various eye conditions. An ophthalmologist is a medically trained eye doctor. When receiving this care, it should be of the correct standard to ensure your vision is not avoidably damaged.
However, what happens if the correct care isn’t given and results in you experiencing pain and suffering that could have been prevented?
For instance, an optician may have referred you to a specialist surgeon. However, the ophthalmologist surgeon failed to carry out further assessments which would have revealed treatment was not suitable for you due to a pre-existing eye condition. If the surgery was carried out, this may have caused further harm such as reduced or loss of vision.
Alternatively, you may have suffered the effects of diabetes on your retina and required surgery. The surgery may not have been needed if the ophthalmologist had not negligently misdiagnosed you previously.
If you have suffered an eye injury due to unsatisfactory treatment by your ophthalmologist contact our team for more information and they can help assess whether your claim is valid.
Otherwise, continue reading for further examples of how a medical professional may have been responsible for negligence by providing substandard care.
There are various types of eye conditions. For instance:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration: This is a condition that doesn’t cause complete blindness but affects the middle part of your vision and makes daily activities more difficult.
- Diabetic retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that results from the blood sugars getting too high and damaging the retina.
- Cataracts: These are cloudy patches over the lens in the eye that can get worse over time and eventually cause blindness.
- Glaucoma: This is where the optic nerve gets damaged. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain and if damaged can lead to loss of vision.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa: This is a genetic disorder that causes loss of vision.
- Charles Bonnet Syndrome: A condition that involves deteriorating vision that triggers a series of visual hallucinations as the brain’s response to the loss of vision.
It is beyond vital that spotting conditions that can be prevented from worsening are done so at the earliest possible moment. If a condition is misdiagnosed because there was a failure to spot clear signs of an eye disease and this allowed the condition to deteriorate then it is very possible that a claim for medical negligence is possible.
The type of ophthalmic treatment you receive may depend on the eye condition you suffer from. For instance, if you suffer from keratoconus which causes the cornea’s structure to change, you may require corneal surgery or a cornea transplant.
Or if your retina becomes detached, you may need retina reattachment surgery to prevent your vision from becoming permanently affected. Additionally, other types of treatment might include:
- Glaucoma treatment, which may depend on the severity of the condition but most of the time it may be through a combination of eye drops, laser eye treatment and surgery.
- Strabismus treatment for crossed eyes might involve glasses, eye exercises, surgery or injections into the eye muscles.
- Cataract treatment may involve surgery to remove your lens with cloudy patches replacing it with an artificial lens.
- Vitreo-retinal surgery may be used for conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and those affecting the retina.
Ophthalmic surgery of any kind requires a standard of pre-operative and post-operative care as well as the care taken during the procedure.
When providing treatment for any eye condition, the ophthalmologist is expected to provide the correct level of care to ensure their patients remain safe from avoidable harm.
However, if a medical professional deviates from standard practices and acts in a sub-par way negligence could mean a patient suffers injuries that should not have occurred. For instance:
- Not checking medical history to check the patient was suitable for surgery led to the patient suffering more than they needed to.
- Not making the patient aware of the risks that come with the procedure led to the patient suffering avoidable harm due to the fact they would have not had the procedure done.
- Operating on the wrong eye
- Operating on the wrong part of the eye
- Failing to check patient notes before the surgery resulting in causing an allergic reaction in the patient that could have been avoided
To prove ophthalmic surgery negligence and have a valid claim you must establish that the treatment you received was not that of a competent doctor. That if you had received the right care you would not have been harmed in an unnecessary way.
Depending on the type of negligence you’ve suffered, the claim you make may vary.
For instance, you may want to make a claim for eye surgery that went wrong. Whether it was a surgical mistake while the surgery was ongoing or an infection caused by poor post-operative care.
Alternatively, you may want to make a claim for a negligent misdiagnosis that delayed essential treatment in preventing you from losing your sight.
Additionally, you may have received unsuitable or delayed treatment because you weren’t given the correct diagnosis because the doctor failed to realise the clear symptoms which resulted in your symptoms worsening.
To make an ophthalmic negligence claim you will need evidence that the negligent treatment you received caused your condition to worsen when this could have been prevented. Or that you suffered a totally new injury that was completely avoidable.
Early diagnosis of an eye condition is essential in preventing further harm or symptoms from developing. However, in some cases, misdiagnosis can cause delays in getting patients the correct treatment.
For instance, Charles Bonnet Syndrome involves hallucinations caused by the brain’s response to deteriorating or loss of vision. However, it’s possible this could be misdiagnosed as a mental health condition or dementia in older patients.
This could lead to the patient being treated for a mental health condition they don’t have. Treatment could cause them additional problems and side effects while coping with sight loss.
Further examples of misdiagnosed eye conditions might include:
- Glaucoma if left untreated can lead to blindness. If the condition is not diagnosed when it should have been a person can lose their sight prematurely.
- Diabetic retinopathy could result from diabetes being misdiagnosed leading to symptoms worsening and causing blood sugars to get too high and damage the retina. This could result in permanent loss of vision.
It’s understandable to expect the correct level of care when accessing medical services, either through the NHS or private institutions.
To make a claim for a misdiagnosis you must be able to prove that the incorrect diagnosis or lack of one was caused through medical negligence. A doctor may act within their professional standards adhering to their duty of care and still not diagnose accurately. However, this will not mean negligence has occurred.
Every medical professional owes their patients a duty of care. They are required to do everything reasonably possible to prevent them from coming into avoidable harm. This includes taking health concerns seriously and ensuring they put their patients best interests at heart.
Failing to do so when providing ophthalmic care could result in the following consequences:
- Reduced sight
- Total blindness
- Psychological injuries
Each of these could have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. Additionally, they may require costly adjustments to ensure their comfort and safety. For instance, home adaptations to make it easier to move around.
We understand the financial implications of adjustments such as this one, however, you may be able to claim the costs of these back in compensation.
See further down in our guide for more details on the damages you can claim or contact our team on the number above for more information.
The NHS recorded 11, 682 new clinical negligence claims and reported incidents in 2019/2020. In comparison, they recorded 10,684 in 2018/2019. Also, the number of non-clinical claims increased by 159 from 3,585 in 2018/19 to 3,744 in 2019/20. This was a rise of 4.4%. Non-clinical claims include employment liability claims and public liability claims.
It’s understandable that you may not be ready to claim straight away due to the consequences you may have been left to deal with. But there is a time limit to making medical negligence claims.
You will either have three years to start a claim from the date the incident occurred or from the date you gained enough knowledge that the incident caused or contributed to your injuries.
Despite the time limit in place, there may be exceptions that apply to your specific case. For instance, if you’re wondering whether you can claim on someone else’s behalf, you can do so in a couple of circumstances.
Firstly, if someone under the age of 18 was injured, the three years are frozen until they turn 18. Up until this point, someone could claim on their behalf by acting as a litigation friend. This may be a parent, guardian or solicitor.
Alternatively, if no one makes a claim on their behalf, they will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday during which to start a claim for themselves.
Secondly, you could claim on someone’s behalf if they lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves. If there is a chance they may regain their mental capacity, the three years are frozen till this point. After that, they will have three years from the date of recovery to start a claim themselves.
However, if there’s no chance they’ll regain their mental capacity, the three years will be frozen indefinitely.
We’re aware that it may be confusing trying to figure out how long you have left to claim. For that reason, we have created a table detailing the time limits and exceptions for medical negligence claims.
|General Time Limit|
|Three years from the date you were in the accident or the date you obtained knowledge that someone else's negligence caused or contributed to your injuries|
|Under the age of 18||3 years from the date of your 18th birthday||3 years is frozen until you turn 18 and someone could claim as a litigation friend on your behalf|
|Lack the mental capacity and regain the mental capacity||3 years from the date of recovery||3 years is frozen until you gain mental capacity, someone could claim as a litigation friend during this time|
|Lack the mental capacity and don't regain it||3 years is frozen indefinitely and someone can act as a litigation friend to claim on your behalf|
However, if you have any questions our advisors are available to help. Contact us on the number above for further help and advice.
There are many different damages that you may be able to claim compensation for in your ophthalmic negligence claim.
General damages cover the physical and psychological suffering you’ve endured as a result of your injury. However, you may be able to claim additional damages that cover you for any financial losses incurred. For instance:
- Lost or reduced earnings if the injury has affected your ability to work
- Care costs either full time or temporary for you or anyone dependent on you
- Travel expenses if the eye injury has left you permanently or temporarily unable to drive
- Medical expenses e.g. occupational therapy to help you adjust to a new way of living
However, in order to support your claim and ensure you have a higher chance of getting the compensation you deserve, you will need evidence.
Evidence in the form of medical documents and records will be required to prove the state of your injuries. Furthermore, you may be asked to attend an additional medical assessment which will provide a further report to support your claim of medical negligence.
Additionally, if you’re claiming any special damages, you’ll need payslips to prove lost earnings as well as receipts and invoices for any other financial costs you’ve had to payout.
Please remember that you cannot claim for the initial injury just for the suffering caused by the medical negligence.
How much compensation will I get for ophthalmic negligence?
Our compensation table below has been created to provide you with an overview of how much your ophthalmic negligence injury could be awarded. The figures listed are for different eye injuries or conditions that you may have suffered as a result of negligence.
We have based the figures on the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) which is a document solicitors may use to value claims. This is used alongside the additional medical examination you may be invited to as part of your claim.
The figures should only be used as a guide as actual compensation amounts may vary depending on the nature of your case, the severity of your injury and whether you have any additional damages.
|Injuries affecting sight||Complete blindness||In the region of £252,180|
|Complete loss of sight in one eye and reduced sight in remaining eye||(i) Injuries where there is a risk of further deterioration in the eye with reduced sight||£90,100 to £168,730|
|Complete loss of sight in one eye and reduced sight in remaining eye||(ii) The award will be given to injuries involving reduced vision in the eye with reduced sight and ongoing problems with double vision||£60,010 to £99,440|
|Eye||Complete loss of one eye||£51,460 to £61,690|
|Eye||Total loss of sight in one eye||£46,240 to £51,460|
|Eye||Where the loss of vision isn't complete and there isn't a risk of further deteoriation of sight in the remaining eye.||£22,230 to £36,960|
|Eye||Injuries where the vision has been permanently affected in either one or both eyes||£8,550 to £19,690|
For more information on how your claim is valued, you can contact our team on the number above.
We want to help you have the best chance of succeeding. For that reason, our advisors can assess whether you have a valid claim. If they feel you do, they can connect you with a medical negligence solicitor who can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
This type of agreement allows you to seek legal representation without upfront costs.
Additionally, if your solicitor is unsuccessful at winning your claim, you won’t pay any solicitor fees. If they are successful, you’ll pay a small fee. However, this is capped and you and your solicitor can decide on the fee prior to starting your claim.
Most importantly, you’ll have the expert advice of a solicitor experienced in medical negligence claims helping you to get the compensation you deserve.
If this sounds like something you’d like to consider, contact our team and they’ll discuss the options with you in more detail.
Our advisors are available 24/7 to help with any questions you may have regarding your ophthalmic negligence claim.
Additionally, if you’d like them to assess whether you have a valid claim, they can do so. You may need to provide information on the evidence you’ve obtained and the further harm you suffered.
However, once they have more details, they can confirm whether your claim has a chance of success. As well as estimating how much your claim is worth if you’re still unsure.
For more information, contact us on the following and get started with your claim today:
- Telephone on 0800 652 3087
- Chat with us using the live chat feature at the bottom of this page
- Send us an enquiry and we’ll respond at a time convenient to you
If you experienced botched laser eye surgery, you may be able to claim compensation. See our guide for further information.
Did a medical professional fail to diagnose your eye socket fracture leading to further harm? If so, our guide could help.
For more information on an operation gone wrong, see our guide.
If you’re looking to make a claim about an NHS service, see how the NHS resolution may be involved in your claim.
Visit the Royal College of Ophthalmologists website for more information on their role in eye care.
See below for answers to some questions we’re frequently asked regarding medical negligence claims.
Do I need to meet my solicitor?
There are various avenues in which you could communicate with a solicitor including telephone, email or in writing.
Do medical claims go to court?
This might depend on a few different factors including whether the defendant admits liability and whether further evidence is required to support claims of medical negligence.
Will the solicitor need to check my medical records?
For medical negligence claims, medical documents will be required to prove that your injuries resulted from negligence.
Can I keep medical information private?
It’s possible to request for medical information not to be included. However, this may make proving medical negligence more difficult.
We hope you found our guide on making an ophthalmic negligence claim for compensation useful. Thank you for reading.
Guide by Megan
Edited by LisM.