Claimant Recovers Compensation for the Delayed Diagnosis of a Detached Retina

A Kent man has recovered compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a detached retina after being told that his vision was deteriorating because of his age.

The claimant – a sixty-year-old man from Chatham in Kent – first visited his High Street optician two years ago complaining of “floaters” or small shadowy dots in his vision. His optician told him that he had suffered a posterior vitreous detachment – a common condition that affects around 75% of people aged sixty-five or older – and warned him to look out for signs of future retinal detachment.

In May last year, the claimant´s vision suddenly deteriorated. The volume of floaters affecting the vision of his left eye significantly increased, he noticed a vertical veil in the eye and his vision became hazy. He returned to the optician in June with concerns that he had suffered a detached retina, but after a brief examination was told there was nothing to worry about.

Over the summer, the claimant´s vision deteriorated further. On a further visit to his optician, he asked for a referral to a consultant ophthalmologist and was told that the referral would have to go via his GP. Eventually he was referred to Maidstone Hospital in August where a detached retina was diagnosed. Four days later, he underwent an emergency repair procedure at St Thomas´ Hospital in London.

After recovering from the procedure, the man sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a detached retina against his optician. The claim was complicated by the fact that two of the opticians that had examined him were locums and difficult to pin down. The claim was also contested on the grounds that the claimant had made a full recovery.

However, the claimant´s solicitor pursued the claim for compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a detached retina. He argued that the avoidable delay had deprived his client the opportunity to have his condition resolved with laser surgery, and instead he had undergone a more serious emergency repair procedure with a longer recovery time.

When the optician continued to contest the claim, the solicitor issued court proceedings. Rather than attempt to defend the claim in court, a £9,000 settlement of compensation for the delayed diagnosis of a detached retina was agreed. The optician also paying the claimant´s legal fees.