Eye Related Claims
Medical negligence compensation claims arising out of eye surgery or misdiagnosed eye conditions can have a serious impact on your life. As with many other encounters with medical professional’s most ophthalmic procedures work out fine. At SSB Law our medical negligence compensation solicitors are able to help you through the process of identifying and pursuing a successful medical negligence compensation claim.
The main areas of medical negligence that we’ve come across in our dealings with ophthalmic claims are as follows:
Lasik/ lasek eye surgery
There’s a difference between lasik and lasek eye surgery. Lasik is corrective surgery in which a flap of the surface of your cornea is raised and a thin layer of underlying tissue is then removed using a laser before the flap is replaced. Lasek involves the loosening the top layer of the cornea and moving it aside so that the surgeon can laser the tissue. The cornea layer is then moved back into place. Both procedures are good methods of improving people’s eyesight and carry few risks. Lasik is considered to be the more difficult of the two procedures as more complications are likely to occur with the creation of a new flap in the cornea. In rare instances, for people with very thin corneas the cut has gone right into the eye itself. And occasionally the surgery can lead to a condition called corneal ectasia – where the changes to the cornea have caused it to thin and change into a more conical shape than it should be, leading to distorted vision.
Cataracts are relatively easily treated and cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful eye operations. As we get older, we are more prone to cloudiness in our eyes – these are the cataracts. Your surgeon will remove them and replace them with an intraocular lens (IOL). It’s not a terribly disruptive surgery, as most of the surrounding lens is left intact with the IOL implanted into it and, after most instances of cataract surgery, the patient’s vision should be a lot clearer. However, things can go wrong. Most of the problems are minor and can be successfully treated medically or with additional surgery.
The common problems found by the medical negligence compensation solicitors at SSB Law are:
• Delayed diagnosis – this can lead to your condition getting worse - which is really unforgivable given the simplicity of the treatment to cure it.
• About 20% of all cataract patients suffer posterior capsule opacity (PCO) – where the posterior portion of their eye capsule becomes hazy during the recovery period or perhaps several months after. This occurs because the cells causing the cataract have not all been removed and those remaining have grown on the capsule.
• Badly positioned or dislocated intraocular lenses – if you can see the edge of your lens implant, or you develop double vision, then the lens hasn’t been positioned correctly. This needs to be fixed quickly as it could substantially damage your eyesight.
Automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK) is a corneal transplant. It’s used to correct the vision of people with severe near-sightedness and mild degrees of farsightedness. This is one of the oldest surgical procedures and is very common. It is often performed under local anaesthetic and takes less than an hour. An incision is made into the cornea to make way for the new cornea which is then sewn into place. Infection and corneal scarring are some possible side effects, as are also some instances of glare or an inability to wear contact lenses afterwards.
Eye muscle surgery
This surgery is usually to correct crossed eyes (or to use the correct medical term, strabismus). It’s usually performed on children before the muscles get too used to being improperly aligned but adults can have it too. The surgeon makes a small cut in the tissue covering the white of the eye (conjunctiva). Then he’ll locate the muscles that require surgery and make them shorter or longer as the case requires. A numbers of things could go wrong and damage to the eye or permanent double vision are very rare side effects of what are actually quite routine operations.
Age related macular degeneration
Medical negligence compensation claims for AMD occur when what is very common condition affecting a person in their later years is not properly diagnosed. It is a general and gradual loss of eyesight which varies from patient to patient. However, there is no cure or treatment – it is one of the major sources of reduced vision and blindness among the older population – but it can be managed and occasionally contained. AMD can often be misdiagnosed as such ailments as cataracts, undiagnosed diabetes, glaucoma or retinal detachment. So, it’s very important to get the correct diagnosis otherwise the patient could end up being treated for the wrong condition.
Glaucoma is a group of common diseases that affect the eyes and can result in blindness if not diagnosed or treated quickly. There are two main types of glaucoma: acute-closed-angle glaucoma which develops suddenly and chronic open-angle glaucoma which develops slowly over a number of years. The latter is the most common form and usually occurs due to intraocular pressure which is a build-up of pressure within the eye. Glaucoma accounts for one in 10 cases of visual impairment in the UK. Diagnosis in the early stages is essential. Also the symptoms can often be misinterpreted for other similar eye diseases. But early and correct diagnosis is absolutely crucial here otherwise the result can easily be complete loss of vision.
This is a very serious condition that can lead to blindness if it’s not diagnosed and treated quickly. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent causes of medical negligence claims against ophthalmologists. It occurs when the thin lining at the back of the eye (the retina) begins to pull away from the blood vessels that keep it supplied with oxygen and nutrients. The symptoms includes flashing lights – is also commonly associated with migraine headaches, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma but it can also be confused with age-related macular degeneration, broadening the chances for misdiagnosis even further. At SSB Law our medical negligence compensation solicitors can guide you through the process of identifying what has gone wrong and assisting you with a successful medical negligence compensation claim.