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Your guide to eye injuries

Surgeon's eye - eye injuries

If the outcome of your eye surgery was not what you expected and you now have impaired vision, or pain, this may have arisen as a result of poor treatment. Either because you were not properly assessed for your surgery, or because surgery was not performed to an acceptable standard.

Whilst some patients have eye conditions which require treatment many people now choose to have surgery to improve their vision. The use of a laser for vision correction began to be more widely available in the UK from the mid 1990s onwards and has become a popular method to treat conditions, such as myopia (near sightedness), hyperopia (far sightedness) or blurring (astigmatism).

Corrective surgey can still be uncertain

As a fragile and complex organ, the eye requires specialist  care before, during, and after any surgical procedure. An ophthalmic  surgeon is responsible for selecting the appropriate procedure, for taking the necessary safety precautions and to treating you  to the correct standard of ophthalmic surgery.

We can help you find out what went wrong

The medical  negligence team at Your Legal Friend have successfully resolved many ophthalmic surgery  cases for clients who  did not receive the appropriate  standard of care from their surgeon. Our  specialist lawyers  can help you find out what went wrong, what can be done to put it right  and claim compensation for you for the pain and losses you  have suffered because of negligence by a doctor, surgeon, nurse or another treatment provider.

Difference between laser surgery and refractive surgery

Increasingly, the term “laser eye surgery” is commonly used instead of “refractive eye surgery” despite having a different meaning.

As a surgical tool, lasers may be used to treat a non-refractive physical injury of the eye, such as sealing a retinal tear, whereas, refractive eye surgery deals specifically with how efficiently light passes through the eye and forms an image.

Refractive eye surgery is mostly used to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses and includes various methods, such as a laser to surgically reshape the curvature of the cornea or remove cataracts.

Refractive eye surgery can be successful in reducing common vision disorders, such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, as well as “curing” degenerative eye disorders.

Many patients who have received refractive eye surgery may still find that some form of corrective eyewear is still needed.

Difference between Lasik and Lasek eye surgery

Increasingly, the term “laser eye surgery” is commonly used instead of “refractive eye surgery” despite having a different meaning.

As a surgical tool, lasers may be used to treat a non-refractive physical injury of the eye, such as sealing a retinal tear, whereas, refractive eye surgery deals specifically with how efficiently light passes through the eye and forms an image.

Refractive eye surgery is ...mostly used to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses and includes various methods, such as a laser to surgically reshape the curvature of the cornea or remove cataracts.

Refractive eye surgery can be successful in reducing common vision disorders, such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, as well as “curing” degenerative eye disorders.

Many patients who have received refractive eye surgery may still find that some form of corrective eyewear is still needed.

Difference between Lasik and Lasek eye surgery

It’s important to be aware there’s a difference between lasik and lasek eye surgery used for improving eyesight.

  • Lasik eye surgery - involves raising a flap from the surface of the cornea and removing a thin layer of underlying tissue by laser, after which, the flap is lowered back into place.
  • Lasek eye surgery - involves loosening the top layer of the cornea and moving it aside to allow laser surgery of the tissue, before the cornea layer is re-applied.

Did you know...

  • Complications arising from the use of a laser in eye surgery occur in up to 5 per cent of cases.
  • Complications caused by lasik eye surgery occur in up to 4 per cent of cases.

The lasik procedure is generally considered to be the more difficult of the two types of eye surgery, as the creation of a new flap in the cornea can lead to complications.

Not everyone is suitable for certain types of eye surgery

Sometimes, surgery can cause changes to the shape of the cornea – the clear part of the eye covering the iris and the pupil - leading to distorted vision, a condition known as ‘corneal ectasia.’

In rare instances a cut can penetrate the eye itself because the patient has very thin corneas.

Grounds for a clinical negligence claim

An ophthalmic  surgeon may have been negligent if:

  • You were not advised of the potential complications before treatment began.
  • You were not given prior information of the possible limited benefits of surgery.
  • Proper pre-surgical checks had not been thoroughly made to ensure your suitability as a candidate for  surgery.
  • The laser eye surgery equipment was incorrectly used.
  • The wrong lens was used.
  • The wrong operation was performed.
  • The surgeon failed to use reasonable care and skill when performing the surgery and you were injured
  • The  surgical after care was or a poor standard.
  • There was insufficient cleansing of a new lens prior to fitting.

Common ophthalmic failings which  result in negligent injury...

Cataract Surgery: Delayed diagnosis can lead to a deterioration of the condition. Wrongly positioned or dislocated lenses causing double vision, insertion of the wrong lens

Corneal transplant: Possible side effects include glare, dry eye, infection and corneal scarring. No longer able to wear contact lenses.

Eye muscle surgery: Adverse reaction to anaesthesia, breathing problems and post-surgery bleeding or infection. In rare instances, damage to the eye or permanent double vision.

Age related macular degeneration (AMD): A loss of vision in the centre of the eye, often misdiagnosed as cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma or retinal detachment. An incorrect diagnosis could lead to treatment for the wrong condition.

Glaucoma: Very few symptoms at the early stages often leads to the condition being completely missed, a diagnosis made too late or misinterpreted as another, similar eye disease. A complete loss of vision can be the outcome.

Retinal Detachment: Early mild symptoms can be overlooked or misdiagnosed. A tell-tale symptom, seeing “flashing lights” is also associated with migraine headaches, retina damage caused by diabetes and glaucoma but can also be confused with age-related macular degeneration.

How Your Legal Friend can help you..

Many of the problems associated with ophthalmic  treatment and surgery  procedures could have been avoided if the treatment had been given at the appropriate time rather than delayed due to appointments being cancelled and rescheduled, if proper pre surgical checks had been performed, if you were given the full facts and clear advice about potential complications and the limited benefits of a treatment or surgery.

As experienced medical  negligence specialists, we know that if you or a member of your family feel you have received a poor  or an unexpected outcome you will want to seek an explanation.

We are committed to ensuring victims of medical  negligence obtain the answers and receive the justice they deserve, which could prevent others from suffering in a similar way.