The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to the eye has progressed significantly in recent decades.
With ever improved technology, including microscopes, pharmacology, imaging, robotics, gene therapy, imaging techniques, and ophthalmic implants, those who suffer from acquired or degenerative conditions related to their vision now have a greater number of effective intervention options than ever before.
While ophthalmologists and those in related roles do all they can to mitigate the risks associated with medical practice in this field, sometimes problems do occur. And occasionally, mistakes may be due to negligence by a healthcare professional.
Ophthalmology is not the sole preserve of hospitals. Many ophthalmologists and other eye-related clinicians operate in private practice and in specialist clinics such as those providing corrective eye surgery.
What constitutes ophthalmic medical negligence?
There are a wide range of ophthalmic complications which may arise due to medical treatment or surgery including:
- Failure to refer a patient to an eye specialist
- Failure to diagnose an eye condition in a timely manner
- Prescription of medication which causes eye related damage
- Defective laser eye treatment surgery
- Inappropriate candidate selection for laser eye surgery
- Poorly treated diabetic eye disease
- Poorly carried out surgery (e.g. for cataracts, lens replacements, or squint correction).
- Brain injury leading to whole or partial loss of vision (i.e. during birth, or due to stroke during surgery)
- Damage caused during cosmetic eye surgery
Should such an event occur, everything should be done in an attempt to reverse or correct the damage caused to your eyes and/or vision. In some cases, it may not be possible to resolve the issue, leading to life-long eyesight problems.
What can be done to improve vision following ophthalmic damage?
Assuming all possible surgical options have been exhausted, in many cases it may be possible for patients to undergo specialist rehabilitative therapies, including emotional support and specialist eye therapy (also referred to as vision therapy). Eye therapy includes specially prescribed exercises designed to, over time, improve vision. Medication may also be prescribed to control infection and reduce dryness or pain.
In addition, corrective lenses in the form of glasses or contact lenses may offer some improvement if your vision has been damaged due to medical negligence.
Can I bring a claim for ophthalmic medical negligence?
To bring a claim for medical negligence relating to your vision, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:
- The medical care you received was below a satisfactory standard (i.e. that another medical professional would not have made the same error), and;
- This negligence caused you damage or injury.
To prove your case, we will compile evidence, including medical records, and seek expert medical opinion.
What may an ophthalmic medical negligence injury claim cover?
Claims following ophthalmic medical negligence may cover two areas of loss:
- Pain and suffering due to the injury; and
- Specific costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses, such as vision therapy, care costs, and corrective eyewear. The costs you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered and the circumstances of the case.
How Lavelle Partners can assist you in bringing a claim
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of injury or disease caused by ophthalmic medical negligence.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes, and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important – your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.
For further information on making a claim for ophthalmic injury or disease due to medical negligence in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.