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Laser Eye Surgery Injury Compensation Claims
Laser eye surgery, also known as vision correction surgery, is an extremely popular alternative to glasses and contact lenses for those living with eye conditions such as hyperopia (long-sightedness), myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism (blurred vision). The treatment attracts over 100,000 patients in the UK every year, and has been endorsed by celebrities from differing walks of life, including Tiger Woods, Nicole Kidman, Sir Elton John and Sir Richard Branson. Laser eye surgery is perceived as being quick, convenient and safe, as well as yielding instant results.
The laser eye surgery market is highly competitive, with clinics advertising 99% success rates, and offering low prices with interest-free credit. This has led to booming profits over the past decade, but as the public flocks to have their eyesight corrected, so many are suffering complications caused by negligent surgeons and botched treatments.
One of the main problems with laser eye surgery is that the industry is unregulated in the UK, the sole requirement being that doctors are registered with the GMC. This means that a surgeon requires no formal training or specialist qualifications before carrying out the treatment on patients. Critics also claim that the public are being deliberately misled by clinics and are no being informed as to the risks of laser eye surgery. A survey by the consumer group Which? in 2009 found that over half of the major clinics visited failed to undertake satisfactory consultations with prospective customers. Furthermore none of the consultations were rated as good by a panel of experts. Regarding success rates, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists estimates that there are complications with around 5% of laser eye treatments, and this rises to a shocking 40% at individual clinics. It is clear therefore that lack of regulation has created a situation where doctors may be unqualified to perform laser eye surgery, and many patients are unprepared for the potential consequences.
A pre-operative medical consultation and screening is essential to identify any 'contraindications' which will make laser eye surgery unsuitable for an individual. These include existing eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts, as well as diabetes, auto-immune diseases and pregnancy. Other factors should also be assessed including the dryness of the eyes and the thickness of the cornea. Surgical errors may cause permanent damage to the eyes and loss of vision. This can occur if the laser settings are incorrect, emitting a beam that is too powerful, or if the laser is directed at the wrong part of the eye. The technique of the surgeon is all-important, as if too much tissue is removed the cornea will be permanently weakened. This can lead to complications such as corneal ectasia, where fluid pressure behind the cornea causes it to bulge, a condition which often requires a corneal transplant to rectify. A patient's eyesight may also be undercorrected or overcorrected if either too little or too much tissue is removed. In both cases further surgery will most likely be required. Laser damage to nerves in the eye meanwhile may inhibit the natural production of tears, causing the eye to dry out and leading to associated burning pain and blurred vision.
Laser Eye Surgery Injury Compensation Awards
Botched laser eye surgery can have devastating consequences for an injured patient and their family. Apart from the pain and suffering, partial or total blindness will effect almost every aspect of a person's life. From a financial perspective, an injured person may have to give up their job, and may require ongoing specialist medical care. Compensation awards will reflect these present and future expenses, as well as the deterioration in quality of life that blindness will entail. Unfortunately claims for compensation following injuries caused by laser eye surgery are increasing in number every year. Those injured by laser eye treatment should contact a specialist firm of solicitors with experience in these types of cases. Not only will you receive free confidential advice, you will also be supported and protected every step of the way towards a successful conclusion.
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