Eye injury negligence news


World Glaucoma Week 2015: Preventing Glaucoma

We reported earlier in the week that it is World Glaucoma Week (March 8 – 14), with the theme “B-I-G – Beat Invisible Glaucoma”. 

It is estimated that 50% of cases of glaucoma remain undetected in the UK. It is very difficult to spot the symptoms of glaucoma, and it is important to undergo regular eye checks. There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but early detection means that medication (usually eye drops) or surgery can halt or slow down further vision loss.

What you can do to prevent glaucoma

Regular eye exams are the best form of prevention. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can mean that most people can retain their sight. In general, a check for glaucoma should be done:

  • Before age 40, every two to four years
  • From age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
  • From age 55 to 64, every one to two years
  • From age 65, every six to 12 months.

Are you at high risk of developing glaucoma?

Those at high risk of developing glaucoma should be tested every one to two years from age 35. These include people of black African or black Caribbean descent, people with diabetes and people with a family history of glaucoma. If you have a parent or sibling with glaucoma you are at increased risk.

Other ways to help prevent the development of glaucoma is to take regular exercise, and to protect your eyes when engaging in sports or DIY.

You are entitled to a free NHS eye test if you are over 40 years old and have a first-degree relative (mother, father, sister or brother) with glaucoma.

You may also be entitled to a free NHS eye test if:

  • An ophthalmologist (eye specialist) thinks you are at risk of developing glaucoma
  • You are over 60 years old.

World Glaucoma Week 2015: What is Glaucoma?

It is World Glaucoma Week this week (March 8 – 14), with the theme “B-I-G – Beat Invisible Glaucoma”. 

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition which can affect sight, usually due to a build-up of pressure in the eye. The eye ball contains fluid, and any excess drains through tubes. When this fluid cannot drain properly and pressure builds up, glaucoma develops. Both eyes are often affected, usually to varying degrees. One eye may develop glaucoma quicker than the other.

Glaucoma causes progressive damage of the optic nerve. If left untreated, it will progress (often without warning or obvious symptoms) leading to worsening vision and possible blindness.

There are four main types of glaucoma, and unfortunately the most common type often has the fewest symptoms.

Chronic open-angle glaucoma

This is the most common type often with the fewest symptoms.

This type develops slowly. Peripheral vision is affected first, meaning that people don’t often realise their sight is being damaged. Vision is lost from the outer rim of the eye, slowly working inwards towards the centre.

These changes in vision are often put down to getting older, which is why it is important to have your eyes checked regularly.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

This type develops rapidly and symptoms are often severe including:

  • Intense pain
  • Redness of the eye
  • Headache
  • Tender eye area
  • Seeing halos or ‘rainbow-like’ rings around lights
  • Misty vision
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes that progresses very quickly
  • Some people may also feel sick or be sick.

Symptoms of acute glaucoma are not constant, and can last for one or two hours before disappearing again. Each time the symptoms occur, vision is damaged a little more.

Secondary glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma is caused by other eye conditions such as uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye). It can also be caused by eye injuries and certain treatments, such as operations or medication.

It is possible for the symptoms of glaucoma to be confused with the symptoms of another condition, e.g. uveitis, which often causes painful eyes and headaches.

This type of glaucoma may still cause misty vision and rings or halos around lights.

Developmental glaucoma (also known as congenital glaucoma)

This is a rare condition affecting young babies. Recognising the symptoms of developmental glaucoma can be difficult due to the young age of a baby or child.

Your child may display symptoms such as:

  • Large eyes due to the pressure in the eyes causing them to expand
  • Being sensitive to light
  • Having a cloudy appearance to their eyes
  • Having watery eyes
  • Jerky movements of the eyes
  • Having a squint.

It is estimated that 50% of glaucoma is undetected in the UK. Contact your GP straight away (or visit A&E if you have symptoms out of your GP’s normal working hours) if you notice any of the symptoms above.  Early treatment can prevent further damage occurring.

World Glaucoma Week 2015: 8-14 March

This week is the 6th annual World Glaucoma Week, and this year’s theme is “B-I-G – Beat Invisible Glaucoma”.

It is estimated that 50% of glaucoma remains undetected in the UK. It is very difficult to spot the symptoms of glaucoma, and this year’s theme emphasises this “invisible” disease. Over 90% of those diagnosed with glaucoma early will keep useful sight for life.  Early detection and treatment saves sight.

The aim of World Glaucoma Week is to educate people about their risk of glaucoma and the importance of regular eye exams.  Originally a day, now a week, this was created due to concern over the worldwide increase in the number of people with glaucoma as the population grows and ages.

Events to raise awareness and provide support for those living with glaucoma take place globally, such as free glaucoma screening, lectures and radio and television events.

Keep checking our website this week for more details about glaucoma, its symptoms, how to prevent it and details of those we have helped.

Hospitals restricting cataract surgery

A number of hospital trusts are limiting access to eye surgery by enforcing their own criteria which is stricter than the national benchmarks. It was found that 57% of England’s 152 primary care trusts had established their own criteria for cataract surgery rather than using the national policy.

The current national policy maintains that if cataracts are hindering the quality of life an individual, then they should be offered treatment. But it has been found that in certain areas, patients will only qualify for surgery if they find it difficult to read the third line of a standard eye chart – a line with three large letters.

The study found that six out of ten trusts were refusing to provide cataract surgery to patients whose eyesight stopped them from driving. This means that a lot of patients have to wait for their eyesight to worsen even further before they will be eligible for surgery.

When a cataract starts to affect an individual’s daily routine, their sight will only continue to deteriorate. They will require surgery at some point and not treating the patient now will only increase waiting lists in the future.

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyer, Sita Vaghela commented:

“Patients should always receive the best care possible at the earliest opportunity. Often a delay in treatment may result in a worsened outcome or further treatment which would not have been necessary had the treatment been carried out earlier.”

Successful failure to treat eye injury negligence claim against 3 NHS trusts

A 27 year old man brought a claim against three NHS Trusts for failing to treat increased pressure in his left eye which resulted in permanent damage causing him to bump into things and to trip and fall. He also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In July 2008 he injured his left eye having been hit by a cricket ball. He attended hospital the next day and, although some abnormalities were noted (i.e. a blood clot in the front chamber and an excessively dilated pupil), the intraocular pressure was recorded as normal and he was discharged.

The next day he collapsed at home due to the pain in his eye. He attended a different hospital and was prescribed some medication before being discharged again.

He continued to experience worsening pain and began vomiting. He was taken by ambulance back to the first hospital he attended. He was told that surgery was not required and was discharged.

The next day he started to lose vision in his eye and had a stiff neck. The pain continued. He went back to the second hospital. He was told his condition was not critical and that he could wait to be seen in the eye clinic the next morning.

The following morning the man was seen at another hospital where he was advised that he had increased pressure in his eye which was putting pressure on to the optic nerve and that this was causing his pain and loss of vision. He was told that the pressure was so high that the retina could have detached. He was given some eye drops which did help to reduce the pressure in his eye. He was then transferred to another hospital by which stage the pressure in his eye had increased again and he required oral morphine.

He was not referred to a specialist eye hospital until late July 2008, but when he was he underwent urgent glaucoma surgery that same day.

The man alleged that two of the hospitals were negligent in failing to refer him for an ophthalmic review. He alleged that the last hospital he attended were negligent in failing to monitor and control his left eye pressure and failing to refer him to hospital as soon as possible. He believed he should have undergone surgery on the day of his injury and that had this happened, the amount of damage caused to his eye would have been far less significant.

Expert evidence was obtained and the claim settled for £20,000. 

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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