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28 May 2015

Eye surgery complications 10 times higher than expected

Eye surgery to enhance your vision, whether laser eye surgery or cataract removal can carry risks; and it is the responsibility of the care provider to ensure these risks are made clear upfront. Serious long-term complications may be rare, but the effects of negligent eye surgery can be devastating.

Find out more about the conditions caused by damage during laser eye or other ophthalmic surgeries:

Cataract removal, one of the most commonly performed types of eye surgery are commonly being undertaken by private health care providers on behalf of the NHS to help clear a backlog of cases and reduce waiting times. A leaked report obtained by the Guardian highlighted instances where complications after surgery by private companies were 10 times the number usually expected.

Some patients suffered burns, loss of iris pigment and similar eye injuries after cataract removal, while some were left with cataract fragments still remaining, meaning further surgery was required. The report also revealed that patients felt rushed during the procedure and concerns were raised that operations were not stopped quickly when it became clear that there were complications, despite patients complaining of pain.

Out of 62 cataract patients cared for by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions for Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset, just 25 had normal recoveries after the routine procedure. Private Surgeons carried out twenty cataract removal operations a day, six more than surgeons at the hospital would usually undertake.

A spokesperson for the Royal National Institute of Blind People said it was “unacceptable” that such a low risk operation had left patients with eye surgery complications that meant a reduced quality of life.

The leaked report, which the NHS initially refused to publish, raised real concerns over the safety of contracting out of minor operations to reduce waiting times. According to figures published by the Independent - 1 in every 10 NHS cataract operations is now carried out privately.

At Longden Walker & Renney we have extensive experience in dealing with a wide range of eye compensation claims, particularly those involving glaucoma, laser correction surgery, cataracts and detached retinas. Over the years we have built up a network of top independent expert surgeons who assist us in such cases. We have been successful in recovering significant levels of compensation, including cases with a value  in excess of 1 million. If you feel you have a claim, contact a member of our specialist team by emailing, or telephone 0191 5666 500, or request a call back for your free initial advice session.