Failure to Diagnose an Eye Condition in Florida

Understanding Your Rights After the Failure to Diagnose an Eye Condition: Florida Ophthalmologist Malpractice Lawyer Explains the Common Types and Causes

One of the most egregious forms of medical negligence is the failure to diagnose an eye condition.  This is because vision is our primary sense that helps us perform nearly all tasks.  Whether it is to help our family, complete our duties at work, or to just perform very basic and routine activities during the day, many of us would be significantly affected by the loss of our vision.  While there are many Florida eye care professionals that can help prevent that, unfortunately, our ophthalmologist malpractice lawyers know that far too many innocent people suffer vision loss due to preventable medical errors.

If you or a loved one is suffering from partial or complete blindness, or any other type of vision impairment that may be related to improper or negligent medical care, you may be entitled to compensation under Florida law.  Call our Miami, Florida ophthalmologist malpractice lawyer at The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked by dialing (305) 694-2676 to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation and fight back against a negligent healthcare provider.  We offer FREE consultation and we only get paid if we recover compensation for you in a settlement, court verdict, or arbitration award.

Vision Impairment is a Global, National, and State Problem

Vision impairment, disorders, conditions, and other issues are a serious problem—including right here in Miami-Dade County.  Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “at least” 2.2 billion people have some form of vision impairment around the world, with “at least” 1 billion of those individuals suffering from vision impairment that “could have been prevented[.]”  These numbers are high in the United States too.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 12 million Americans over the age of 40 have some form of vision impairment.  Of these, the National Eye Institute (NEI) estimates that roughly 1.3 million Americans are blind and another 2.9 million have low vision.

More locally in Florida, the National Federal of the Blind (NFB) reports that over 544,000 Floridians have some form of diagnosed vision impairment affecting their daily lives.  This is the third-worst in any state, behind only California and Texas.  But it is also estimated that 2 million Floridians are living with low vision or other eye conditions that are not diagnosed  In Miami-Dade County alone, approximately 2.1% of all residents have some form of vision difficulty.

Eye Health and Medical Malpractice in Miami, FL

Luckily, as the WHO points out, most of the conditions causing vision loss or vision impairment can be diagnosed and properly treated by a healthcare or eye care professional.  While many ophthalmologists, eye doctors, opticians, nurses, and other professionals properly do so, unfortunately there are far too many instances of patients suffering preventable errors that have a permanent effect on their vision.  This includes the failure to diagnose an eye condition that could have been avoided.

When a healthcare provider such as an ophthalmologist fails to properly diagnose an eye condition, disease, or disorder that could have been treated, it could be due to medical malpractice.  Under Florida law, medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider causes a negligent injury to a patient.  A negligent injury occurs when the healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care in treating or diagnosing a patient.  This deviation is when a defendant departs from the accepted norms of practice that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would have done in similar circumstances and having similar training or background.

Failure to Diagnose an Eye Condition in Miami, FL

Medical malpractice based on a failure to diagnose is a common cause of action, or claim, that a patient could bring against a healthcare provider.  Regarding eye care and treatment, a failure to diagnose an eye condition in Miami is one of the many different forms of ophthalmologist malpractice.

This type of medical error can result in permanent damage, including loss of vision, decreased visual field, partial or total blindness, perception issues, “floaters,” and other serious health complications.  A patient who is injured by this form of medical malpractice may be entitled to “damages,” or relief in court.  This is typically monetary compensation in a personal injury case.

The most common examples of a failure to diagnose an eye condition in Miami that our ophthalmologist medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked could handle for you include the following:

Eye Stroke

An eye stroke is a very dangerous, disabling, and serious condition that is a medical emergency.  According to Penn Medicine, an eye stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to the tissue located in the front part of the optic nerve.  If an eye stroke is not treated properly, it can result in a sudden and often permanent loss of vision.

The causes of an eye stroke are due to poor circulation of blood flow to the blood vessels that supply part of the optic nerve.  This could be caused by a blockage or an increase in blood pressure that restricts blood flow.  The symptoms of an eye stroke are usually no or very little pain, with a dark area or shadow in their vision on one half (top or bottom).

An eye stroke is usually easily diagnosed by dilating the pupils and examining the optic nerve and retina.  Treatment for an eye stroke could be as simple as giving corticosteroids or other medication.  Other effects include reducing the pressure in the eye to allow for increased blood flow.

However, despite the ease of diagnosing and the relative ease of treating most eye strokes, the failure to diagnose an eye stroke could result in permanent loss of vision.  Even if some vision is restored, it is likely that part of the vision would be permanently affected.  If an ophthalmologist sends a patient home with these symptoms and without performing the basic eye examination, a patient who subsequently suffers an eye stroke resulting in the loss of vision may have a cause of action against a negligent ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma

The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines glaucoma as a disease that damages the optic nerve, which in turn affects your vision.  This is primarily due to an increase of fluid in the eye, which in term increases the pressure of the eye.  The increase in pressure is what begins to constrict and damage the optic nerve.  According to NEI, an estimated 2.7 million Americans suffer from glaucoma.

Diagnosing glaucoma requires a pressure test (commonly a puff of air) and an examination.  This includes inspecting the eye’s drainage angles, looking at the optic nerve for damage, and testing peripheral vision.  Other tests can include measuring the thickness of your cornea and taking 3d/enhanced photographs of your optic nerve.

Luckily, once glaucoma is diagnosed it is usually easily treated with eyedrops.  These eyedrops are minimally invasive and easily applied.  They do not reverse the damage that was done, but they can immediately stop further damage and prevent it from reoccurring.

Unfortunately, the failure to diagnose a condition like glaucoma can result in permanent damage to the eye which is irreversible.  If an ophthalmologist failed to detect and treat glaucoma in a patient, and the disease was discovered later, a patient may be entitled to compensation for his or her pain and suffering or permanent vision loss due to the delay in diagnosing.  Ask the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked for a FREE case evaluation if your glaucoma was not timely diagnosed.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Individuals with diabetes could develop a condition affecting their eyes known as diabetic retinopathy.  This is when the high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina, which in turn cause swelling, leaking, and a decrease of blood flow.  This can cause damage to the eyes over time, including vision loss.

An ophthalmologist can diagnose diabetic retinopathy by dilating your pupils and looking at the blood vessels in your eyes.  Sometimes a doctor may do a fluorescein angiography with dye injected into a vein to see the blood flow around your eye’s blood vessels.

If you have diabetic retinopathy, it can easily be treated by working on blood sugar control or by prescribing certain medications to help your eyes.  Sometimes a steroid may be used or an injection.

But the failure to diagnose diabetic retinopathy could be serious ophthalmologist medical malpractice and result in permanent loss of vision.  This is usually a more egregious type of medical negligence because a patient who has diabetes is already going to be at a higher risk for this condition.  Therefore, an eye doctor needs to be on a heightened guard for this condition.

Cataract

When your eye begins to become cloudy it could be due to a condition known as cataracts.  Specifically, the lens of your eye is what begins to become cloudy.  This affects how we can see.  Aging is the most common cause of cataracts which can condition to worsen until it is treated.

Diagnosing cataracts is usually done through an examination with a slit-lamp examination.  This is a special lamp that makes it easier to spot abnormalities like cataracts.  A retinal examination can also determine whether there are cataracts forming.

While diagnosing cataracts is easy with the proper care and treatment, unfortunately the only way to remove cataracts is through surgery.  The worse the cataracts, generally the more involved the surgery and the more likely that the surgery will have to replace the entire lens with an artificial one.  Delays in diagnosing, stopping the progression, and ultimately treating cataracts could force a patient to endure unnecessary pain and suffering through a more involved surgery.  This could have been preventable and due to medical malpractice.

Corneal Opacities

Corneal opacity is a disorder of the cornea which caused scarring and damage to the cornea.  This damage can be permanent and significantly affect vision.  There are many causes of this condition, including other diseases and conditions which could be diagnosed and quickly treated.  Other times vitamin deficiencies could also result in this type of damage to your eyes.

Luckily, corneal opacities are treated with eye drops, steroids, oral medications, and other basic treatments when they are caught early.  This also reduces the potential for damage to the eyes.  However, a failure to diagnose an eye condition like corneal opacity could result in permaznent damage and require more invasive treatment, including laser surgery or a complete removal and replacement of the cornea (corneal transplant).

Trachoma

A bacterial infection that affects your eyes is a trachoma, usually caused by Chlamydia trachomatis.  This is a very contagious condition that can affect the eyelids, nose, threat, and other secretions of patients.  It is easily passed to others, usually because of the fact that it results in itching and irritation which can get on hands and fingers, and then spread to others.

The symptoms are obvious, including itching, irritation, redness, watery, and swollen eyelids.  While it can be easily treated with medication, the failure to properly treat trachoma could result in permanent and total blindness.  This is a massive type of ophthalmologist malpractice that could always be evaluated by an experienced ophthalmologist medical malpractice lawyer in Miami, FL like ours.

Vision Damage Due to a Delay in Diagnosis or a Failure to Diagnose an Eye Condition in Florida?  We Can Help

Here at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we accept cases on a contingency agreement meaning what we do not get paid unless you get paid.  We also do not charge for a case evaluation and, if we accept your case, we pay the upfront litigation costs like medical records, expert fees, and court costs for you.  We are only reimbursed these expenses after we recover compensation for you.  This means there is upfront cost or financial risk to work with our skilled and compassionate team.

If you or a loved one suffered any type of injury to your eyes, vision impairment, or blindness due to the failure to diagnose an eye condition in Miami or anywhere else in Florida, call our experienced ophthalmologist medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today for your FREE evaluation by dialing (305) 694-2676 or use our convenient “Contact Us” box at the bottom of our website or available here.

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