Ipswich: Problems can occur after laser eye surgery

Legally Speaking with Ashton KCJ

Laser eye surgery has changed many lives.

The vast majority who have undergone this relatively quick and simple operation have been delighted with the results.

Most have improved vision and often complete freedom from glasses and contact lenses.

It is currently the most frequently performed elective procedure and over 22 million laser eye surgeries have been carried out worldwide. A cool beam of light from an excimer laser gently reshapes the cornea.

Frequently patients can simply walk in to opticians offering this service, the main provider being Optical Express. They are required to have tests (usually by an optometrist) to ensure that they are suitable.

Patients are referred to the Optical Express Medical Advisory Board and approved Clinical Suitability Guidelines.

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As with any surgical procedure there are risks. A patient has a right to know what these risks are, no matter how small, and make an informed choice about whether to proceed.

In most cases, patients are handed a consent form and invited to take this home to read and sign. They have to tick boxes to acknowledge that they have read all the potential risks and are advised that they can raise any questions on the consent form.

Generally the patient does not meet the surgeon (who should be a qualified ophthalmologist) until the laser procedure takes place.

If it goes well, the patient may be offered an enhancement procedure to improve their vision further. This carries the same risks as the original surgery and a further consent form has to be signed.

The risk of visual disturbance is greater following re–treatments.

Parliament introduced regulations around laser eye surgery in 2006, the aim being to ensure that appropriate standards and conditions are met and that patients are fully advised and put through the proper procedures to give their consent.

Just occasionally something goes wrong and we see clients whose vision has been impaired rather than improved by laser eye surgery. In these cases it is important to see whether the correct procedures were followed and clients fully understood the risks of the treatment. It is also important to identify whether any fault lies with the provider or with the surgeon, who may be self-employed.

If you have had laser eye surgery which did not go to plan and you have been left with impaired vision please call us for individual advice.

Julie Crossley

Associate

Ashton KCJ Solicitors

T: 01473 232425

E: julie.crossley@ashtonkcj.co.uk

www.ashtonkcj.co.uk

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We would advise you to seek professional advice before acting on this information.

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