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Delay in detached retina diagnosis

+ Medical Negligence
+ Sara Westwood
Sara Westwood

Our eyes are the windows to the world and most of us nowadays know the importance of keeping them healthy which includes regular checks with our optician. These checks can often identify issues in advance of symptoms becoming apparent and the vast majority of the time opticians provide a high standard of care. Occasionally however things can go wrong.

I acted for a client who had previously suffered a retinal detachment so she knew the signs and symptoms. She saw her optician for a routine review at which time she informed him of a shadow in her vision which had been present for some time. This wasn’t thought to be anything serious.

She returned to her optician less than two months later as she was concerned at a very sudden deterioration in the vision of her right eye. Our client was concerned she may be suffering another detachment but she was reassured this wasn’t the case. She was seen again 4 months later by which time her symptoms had deteriorated further. She was told a referral to hospital could be made but was again reassured. A referral was made after another three months and the consultant confirmed she had a detached retina and unfortunately the prognosis was poor for her vision given the length of time it had been detached. She did have surgery but her sight remains impaired.

Simple investigations which could have been performed, to confirm the suspicion of a problem requiring referral, were not performed resulting in a significant delay in being seen at hospital and treated. Her claim was settled.

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