If I was not told about hygiene after laser eye surgery and I developed an infection as a result, am I eligible to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors?

Provided that it is confirmed that you were not instructed about post-operative hygiene, that the infection you developed was related to the procedure you underwent and that you did not make your infection worse by your own lack of care, it should be possible to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors.

Claims for laser eye surgery errors have to prove that the clinic in which you underwent the procedure failed to inform you about the special precautions necessary to prevent post laser eye surgery infections or injuries. This type of oversight is classified as medical negligence as it should have been done prior to surgery being performed.

As no injury was sustained during the surgery, the success of any future compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors will hinge on the information you were provided with at the time you agreed to undergo the procedure. This is known as “informed consent” and you should have been advised about hygiene as part of the information provided to you.

A laser eye surgery error claim for compensation would also need to be supported by an expert ophthalmologist to testify that the infection was related to the laser eye surgery that you had. The ophthalmologist would also be able to ascertain whether you contributed to the extent of the infection by not seeking medical attention when it became apparent that something was wrong.

If it is determined that you contributed to the extent of your eye infection by your own lack of care, it will not disqualify you from making compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors, however how much compensation for laser eye surgery errors you receive may be adjusted to reflect your own contributory negligence. This is something that a solicitor would be able to explain to you in greater detail if it is necessary.

You will also need a solicitor to process a claim for laser eye surgery errors, as the Injuries Board Ireland regards compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors as medical negligence claims (which they have no remit to resolve) and will decline any application for assessment submitted to them in error – even if liability has been admitted for your eye infection.

Your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the clinic at which you underwent the laser eye surgery, advising them that you are claiming compensation for laser eye surgery errors and supporting the letter with the evidence that has been collected by the ophthalmologist. If the claim for a laser eye surgery error is sufficiently strong, your solicitor will also invite the clinic to make an offer of compensation.

Rarely is it the case that a claim for a laser eye surgery error has to go to court but, if liability for your infection is denied or no agreement can be reached over how much compensation for laser eye surgery errors you are entitled to, your solicitor will issue court proceedings.

First, however, it has to be established that you are eligible to make compensation claims for laser eye surgery errors and in this respect it is advised that you contact a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity.