Our vision is an important tool for navigating the world. We rely on our eyesight every waking moment to give us necessary information about the world around us so that we can avoid dangers, but also so that we can dwell upon the beauty of a clear blue sky reflected in Lake Michigan or one of Chicago’s more than 700 pieces of public art.
The loss of vision is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. Your relationship with the world around you changes dramatically, and the emotional toll of that change can be very serious. If you’ve suffered a loss of vision because of a mistake made by an ophthalmologist, you’re likely feeling angry about how the ophthalmologist’s negligence has caused you such a profound loss — even if that loss is temporary. You may need additional corrective procedures to fix the mistake, which means medical bills are racking up while you’re likely unable to do your job because of your vision loss.
If you’ve been the victim of ophthalmological malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation of your medical bills and other damages through a medical malpractice claim. If you are successful, you may receive monetary compensation not only for your medical bills, but also for your lost wages and pain and suffering. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can go over the facts of your case and discuss your options for a claim.
Common Forms of Ophthalmology Malpractice
Ophthalmology is the medical field involving diseases and medical conditions of the eye and treatment of those diseases and conditions. Ophthalmologists are medical professionals who go to medical school and perform four years of residency training after graduation. They may specialize in certain portions of the anatomy of the eye such as the cornea, or in certain diseases of the eye such as glaucoma or cataracts.
Treatments may involve prescribing drugs, prescribing corrective lenses, or performing surgery. Some common ways that patients suffer ophthalmological malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis — When an ophthalmologist fails to diagnose a disease or condition of the eye, or doesn’t make a timely diagnosis, you could experience irreversible damage that leads to partial or total vision loss or the need for additional procedures you wouldn’t have needed if the disease or condition had been diagnosed in a timely fashion.
- Failure to treat or delayed treatment — When a diagnosis is made, but treatment is delayed or doesn’t happen, your eye problem likely will worsen and you may lose some or all of your sight.
- Failure to consult an expert — Sometimes a patient comes in and has a condition the doctor doesn’t have the expertise to handle on his or her own. A qualified physician should recognize when outside expertise is needed and make sure that another doctor who does have the required knowledge and experience is consulted. If your ophthalmologist failed to do that, the failure to consult another specialist may be malpractice.
- Surgery errors — Perhaps the most common ophthalmological surgery errors involve cataract surgery or LASIK surgery. When delicate eye surgery goes wrong, you could experience significant or total blindness.
- Medication errors — When an ophthalmologist prescribes the wrong medication or the wrong dose, you could experience painful and unpleasant side effects or a worsening of your underlying condition.
Consequences of Malpractice
Ophthalmology malpractice can have very serious consequences for a patient. When an ophthalmologist makes a mistake, you may experience:
- Worsening Vision — If your eye disease or condition isn’t properly treated, it likely will become worse and may negatively affect your vision.
- Infections — Infections are an all too common occurrence when surgery isn’t performed in proper sterile conditions. An infection in your eye could lead to redness, pain, or vision loss. If the infection spreads through your blood stream, you could experience other serious problems.
- Temporary or Permanent Blindness — The most serious consequence of ophthalmological malpractice is loss of vision itself.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of malpractice, you may want to consult with a Chicago personal injury lawyer to determine if you have a case. Call Staver Law Group at for a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.