Compensation Claims for Laser Eye Surgery Errors

Can I make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors if I developed photophobia after undergoing an operation to help my short-sightedness?


There are two scenarios in which it may be possible to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors – the first being if an injury has been sustained due to a lack of skill by your eye surgeon, and the second being if you were not adequately warned of the possibility of photophobia (or other conditions) before undergoing the operation.

If you photophobia condition is attributable to a lack of skill – or an inability by your eye surgeon to demonstrate their skill – this is classed as medical negligence, and a solicitor would engage the services of an expert to examine your injury and establish whether or not it was avoidable “at the time and in the circumstances”.

Even if no evidence of negligence is identified, it may still be possible to claim compensation for laser eye surgery errors if you gave your consent for a procedure without being adequately informed of the potential risks.

All eye surgeons should belong to the Irish College of Ophthalmologists, who are governed by the Medical Council. The Medical Council has produced a booklet “Good Medical Practice in Seeking Informed Consent to Treatment” in which it is stated:

“Before deciding on whether to consent to treatment patients ought to have explanations of the likely benefits and the probabilities of success; discussion of any serious or frequently occurring risks, and of any lifestyle changes which may be caused by the treatment.”

If your eye surgeon failed to comply with this guideline, or you were pressured into signing the consent form without fully understanding the implications of what you were agreeing to, this may be grounds on which to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors.

Your first course of action should be to speak with a solicitor so that the extent of your injury and the possible negligence that caused it can be established. You are likely to have experienced substantial changes to your lifestyle due to your condition – it may also have affected your ability to work – and your solicitor will want to hear about the consequences of your eye surgery as well.

Once negligence is established, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the clinic at which you underwent the laser eye surgery, advising them that you are claiming compensation for laser eye surgery errors and supporting the letter with the evidence that has been collected by the ophthalmologist or with evidence that you did not give your informed consent for the procedure to take place.

If the claim for a laser eye surgery error is sufficiently strong, your solicitor will also invite the clinic to make an offer of compensation.Rarely is it the case that a claim for a laser eye surgery error has to go to court but, if liability for your infection is denied or no agreement can be reached over how much compensation for laser eye surgery errors you are entitled to, your solicitor will issue court proceedings.

First, however, it has to be established that you are eligible to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors and in this respect it is advised that you contact a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.