We use our eyes every waking minute. Thy make us aware of our surroundings and giving us the information we need to stay safe. That is why our vision is one of the most important things we value in our everyday lives. Without proper vision, we cannot fully connect to the world around us, work, or even enjoy life to the fullest.
The loss of vision can be devastating and life-changing, to say the least.
While some forms of vision loss occur as a result of traumatic accidents or unavoidable illness, other instances of vision impairment and blindness stem from medical malpractice. Although ophthalmologists are doctors who specialize in treating eye problems, they sometimes make mistakes when providing vision care—and those mistakes can put their patients’ eyes at risk. Sadly, the very doctors whom patients trust with their eye health can also cause them harm.
When Eye Care Goes Wrong
Here are just a few of the common ways ophthalmology malpractice occurs:
- Delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose. Sometimes ophthalmologists will jump to a diagnosis without performing the necessary tests. They may conduct an imaging test such as an optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination and diagnose a patient with an incorrect eye issue when they should have ordered more specialized tests that would provide an accurate diagnosis. If an ophthalmologist causes partial or total vision loss as a result of failing to diagnose an eye condition properly, malpractice may be to blame.
- Failure to refer. Not all ophthalmologists specialize in certain areas of the eye. For instance, some ophthalmologists are known for being glaucoma specialists; others have more experience with corneal surgery. There are even retina specialists who may use specialized tests to diagnose eye conditions rarely encountered by general ophthalmologists. If an eye doctor causes a patient harm while performing a retinal repair or a corneal transplant, the failure to refer a patient to a different ophthalmologist with specialized experience may be considered malpractice.
- Surgical errors. When an ophthalmologist conducts cataract surgery, corneal transplant surgery, eyelid surgery, LASIK surgery, or a post-accident reparative surgery, he may make errors that can cause the patient to suffer vision loss. If treatment makes an eye problem worse and the doctor is not following accepted medical procedures, it is grounds for a malpractice claim.
- Pediatric mistakes. Sometimes infants and young children have symptoms of eye disorders and ophthalmologists dismiss them without further testing. Often, the condition will get worse due to lack of treatment. Unfortunately, when treatment such as surgery is needed, a critical mistake may negatively impact a child’s vision for life. When this happens, the ophthalmologist may be liable for a malpractice claim.
Where Do I Go From Here?
When someone suffers any type of vision loss, they often need additional treatment to repair the damage. Sometimes a vision problem may be corrected with an additional procedure; other times, the loss of vision will be permanent. The medical costs associated with treating a vision injury are expensive, and the cost is compounded with the financial harm the patient may suffer as a result of not being able to work and earn an income.
Any type of vision loss—whether temporary, partial, or a complete loss of vision—that occurs as a result of a doctor’s negligence is grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. When an ophthalmologist’s mistake is the cause of your life changes, you have rights to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Although the financial harm associated with a loss of eyesight can be enormous, there is no price tag that can be put on the emotional harm that occurs with any type of vision loss.
To learn more about ophthalmology malpractice and pursuing a medical malpractice claim for your loss of vision or a loved one’s injuries, contact our law firm to learn more. We would be honored to help you seek justice and just compensation or even just explain your rights to you in a free, no-obligation consultation.