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No one can argue about the value of the eye. The human eye is a remarkable tool designed by nature, but is also a vital one. Humans rely on their eyes to see, function, and experience life. That is why patients visit their eye doctors. They receive routine, annual screenings, receive prescription glasses and ensure complications with their vision are addressed immediately.
Sadly, there are instances where an eye doctor or specialist may miss a condition or cause a serious error that results in the patient losing his or her ability to see the world around them.
A healthy eye works like a camera. It provides you with clear, uninterrupted vision using several components.
Just some elements of the eye include the iris, pupil, cornea, and lens. All these elements work together to bring images in and allow your brain to interpret them.
An ophthalmologist is a physician who deals with the treatment, pathology, function, and anatomy of the eye. The casual reference to them is an “eye doctor.” Some eye doctors have medical degrees, which means they receive specialized training to provide everything from eye surgery to prescription glasses.
There are subspecialties in this field of medicine. These subspecialties focus specifically on one area of treatment and include:
Not all poor outcomes are the result of negligence or lawsuits. Instead, a lawsuit stems from negligence by the physician or their staff.
Surgical injuries might include leaving instruments in the patient’s eye, performing surgery on the wrong eye, performing unnecessary eye surgeries, carelessly using surgical tools, or causing damage to other parts of the eye not being operated on.
The eye is delicate and subject to severe infections. Infections can spread to the brain and result in eye loss. When surgical equipment or examination equipment is not properly sanitized, an infection is more likely.
Eye doctors must follow up with their patients after treatments and diagnosis.
Failure to follow up after a surgery, ignoring a patient’s medical history, or discharging a patient too early after vision surgery could result in serious injuries.
During routine screenings, eye doctors detect potential conditions. If that eye doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a patient, it could result in permanent injuries. Sometimes, a patient might be diagnosed with an eye condition they do not have, resulting in thousands of dollars in expensive treatments.
Medical devices and medications come in many forms, but when a doctor chooses to use them off-label (a use not intended by the manufacturer), it can result in complications. This is particularly the case during delicate eye surgery when an off-label product is supplemented for a recommended tool.
Eye treatment errors, surgical mistakes, and other forms of negligence can lead to visual impairment and permanent injury. Some patients will lose their vision for the rest of their life, or suffer life-threatening injuries and complications.
Serious injuries that a patient might endure because of an eye doctor’s negligence include:
Eye injuries are costly and complicated to correct. A patient may require several, expensive, eye surgical procedures to restore vision, a corneal transplant, or the consequences of permanent vision loss.
Depending on the seriousness of the injury, the patient may be entitled to multiple forms of compensation, including:
Common surgical procedures, such as LASIK and retina surgery, commonly result in malpractice lawsuits. That is because these procedures are dangerous and carry significant risks to the patient if performed incorrectly.
An eye surgeon must inform the patient of all risks and benefits of the surgical procedure or treatment. Then, the patient can only consent to the procedure after understanding these options.
To receive actual informed consent, the eye surgeon or doctor must:
Eye treatments and procedures are constantly evolving. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with a specific condition, your eye doctor may propose an experimental treatment or ask to involve you in a study.
You must also give informed consent for these studies, but realize that studies and experimental treatments do not carry the same protections as an accepted treatment for eye problems. However, physicians are required to inform you if you are participating in an experimental treatment. They are still required to obtain informed consent, and you must be aware of any approved treatments, along with their risks and benefits. If you accept the experimental treatment, your physician must explain all risks of that experimental treatment.
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