The woman, Mrs D, worked at a hospital as a radiographer, a job which required her to view x-rays on a computer screen. Prior to the surgery, she did not need to wear glasses to do this job. She was short-sighted and had needed glasses for distance vision, such as driving and watching television, for around 20 years.
Laser eye surgery an alternative to glasses
She had become tired of wearing glasses and, in considering what alternatives were available, she found out about ‘monovision’ treatment. This entailed treating one eye so that it was used for distance vision and the other eye so that it was used for near vision. She booked an appointment at Optical Express Limited in Meadowhall, Sheffield to discuss the possibility of having this treatment. She explained her situation to the optometrist and told him that her job needed her to interpret x-rays. She told him that she did not want to wear glasses to do this and that her aim was not to wear glasses for driving. An eye examination showed that both of her eyes were normal and healthy, and she was asked to undertake a monovision trial, which entailed wearing a contact lens in one eye for around one hour whilst walking around Meadowhall. From this trial, the optometrist concluded that the trial was a success and that Mrs D’s right eye could be successfully treated.
Not happy with results
Following the treatment, Mrs D was not happy with the results. She had several post-operative assessments at which she persistently complained or poor vision and dryness in her right eye. She was assured that the vision would improve once the dryness did. She was prescribed various eyedrops and ointments, but they had little effect. She had no difficulty in reading but found it difficult to carry out her job. She was now interpreting a larger number of chest x-rays, which require differentiation between shade, shadows and lines and which she had difficulty in doing. She has found that she now needs to wear glasses to carry out her job.
The operation resulted in exactly the opposite to what Mrs D had wanted and she was extremely disappointed. She had never been told that this could be the result, and the paperwork she had signed agreeing to the treatment had not adequately explained the possibility. She felt that in all her dealings with Optical Express, she had not been made aware of the risks of the operation, only the possible benefits. She had certainly understood that she would not need to wear glasses after the operation and, had she had any idea that this may be possible, she would not have gone through with it. Mrs D contacted Graysons to see could make a claim for compensation for medical negligence and Nikki took up her case.
Nikki made claim against Optical Express
Nikki contacted the opticians claiming that it had been negligent in that it had failed to provide Mrs D with an adequate standard of care and that it hadn’t:
- understood that Mrs D did not want to wear glasses in order to do her job and hadn’t properly advised her that she very probably would have to
- explained or provided information that the operation was unsuitable for Mrs D as it was incapable of achieving her desired results
- provided suitable and comprehensible consent documentation and ensured that Mrs D had fully understood it
- allowed Mrs D to meet the surgeon for more than 10 minutes and only on the date of surgery
- provided adequate pre-operative consultation and testing
- adhered to the ‘Professional Standards for Refractive Surgery’ and other standards which collectively represented the minimum reasonable and responsible standard of care that should have been provided
Mrs D has been left unable to carry out her job without using glasses and now suffers symptomatic dry eyes which requires daily tear medication.
Settlement negotiated after proceedings issued
Optical express denied liability and so Nikki had to issue court proceedings. Optical cases can be extremely difficult to win as the defendant will usually argue that the symptoms are recognised risks of the procedure. However, Nikki was able to negotiate a settlement of £12,500 before the case was heard at court and her client was delighted with the outcome, praising Nikki for her excellent communication throughout.
If you have undergone a medical treatment and have been injured or feel that the medical professional has been negligent in their treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our medical negligence experts for a free of charge appointment at which you can discuss your case. You can find out about making a claim on our web pages.