Laser Eye Surgery - Industry remains unregulated

02 October 2014

Laser Eye Surgery ; possible negligence claims in Northern ireland

There have long been calls for more stringent rules to be introduced in relation to the regualtion of laser eye surgery.

The highly lucrative industry remains largely unregulated and worryingly there appears to be no current requirement to hold any specialist medical or surgical qualification; it is sufficient to be registered as a doctor with the GMC.

While there are no official statistics to illustrate the level of injuries caused during or as a result of laser eye surgical procedures, a recent Which? investigation found that one third of the surveyed clinics in the UK failed to fully outline and explain the possible complications that may be associated with laser eye surgery. These complications include double vision, ghosting, blurred vision, and poor night vision.

Pressurised sales pitching is another live issue and a recent leaked manual from one of the industry’s leading providers demonstrates the lengths some staff will go to in order to secure a client. Staff are directed to “take control” of the client at the outset and obtain a “nugget” of information from the client which can then be used to form a personal connection between the staff member and the patient, which evidence shows will make it more likely that a client will sign up.

Labour MP, Mr John McDonnell, is leading the push for tougher regulation and introduced a bill in November 2013 which aims to introduce tighter regulations. For now however the industry remains largely free from scrutiny and the level of claims continues to rise.

The Daily Mail recently reported on an ongoing case in England and Wales where a young woman is suing Optical Express for failing to properly set out the risks attached to a procedure.(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2759324/Short-sighted-woman-sues-Optical-Express-1million-laser-surgery-wrecked-childhood-dream-police-career.html)

If you have had laser eye surgery or a similar procedure and have experienced adverse symptoms such as pain, discomfort, double vision or poor night vision, then depending on the individual circumstances, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. This is not always the case, but we will be happy to discuss the circumstances of each particular case with you.

Claire McDaid is a Solicitor with the Litigation department of Worthingtons Solicitors and specialises in medical negligence cases. If you have any queries in relation to this article, please email Claire at claire@worthingtonslaw.co.uk or submit your query in the form below and a member of our litigation department will be happy to respond.

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