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Optician Negligence Claims

Optometrists (opticians) are highly trained health professionals specialising in vision and eye health. Opticians owe a legal duty of care to their patients to protect them from the risk of harm. If they have failed you, and you suffer harm to your eyes – or to your actual eyesight – you may be eligible to start a no win no fee optician negligence compensation claim.

Optician negligence compensation claim

The majority of people enjoy good eyesight – even if a lot of us need specs to help us see more clearly. The fact is, most of us take our ability to see for granted – and it’s not until our eyesight starts to deteriorate or, in unfortunate cases, lose our sight suddenly – that we realise we did not appreciate our eyes enough.

Loss of vision or eye disease can have a potentially serious impact on your life and may even lead to further injury. It can affect your mobility, your ability to see normally, it can affect your career and can reduce your confidence.

With the help of specialist personal injury solicitors, if your eye damage happened through no fault of your own – you could make a no win no fee medical negligence claim.  Getting started with your no win no fee claim is simple – simply give speak to trained legal advisers on 0800 234 6438 to access free advice. Alternatively, you can request a call back using the claim form on this page.

DID YOU KNOW: The human eye is the same size from around 2 years old throughout the rest of your life. Your eyes blink on average 4,200,000 times a year

What is optician negligence?

Though they’re not medical doctors, optometrists are highly trained over a number of years to spot and treat defects in eyesight and detect signs of health problems. Particularly, the role of an optician includes:

  • Testing people’s eyesight
  • Detecting disease or other eye problems, including astigmatism, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and tumours
  • Prescribing specs/glasses and contact lenses and other reading aids
  • Recommending eye exercises and vision therapy and, in some cases, conduct vision therapy
  • Prescribing various medications for eye disease

Opticians have a duty of care towards each patient they see; a high standard is expected of them to avoid causing harm, otherwise optician negligence claims may follow. Optician negligence (which is a form of medical negligence) is the failure of an optician/optometrist to provide the service or treatment with a ‘reasonable standard of care’, causing harm to the individual (or exacerbating an existing eye problem).

Optician negligence may take the form of a mistake, misdiagnosis, a delay in diagnosis or treatment, or negligent optical treatment. Optician negligence, which can trigger a medical negligence claim, is likely to cause damage to your eyesight and potentially your health. In some cases, it could be permanent – even fatal. For example, optometrists are trained and have the technology and the tools available to enable them to spot, even in routine eye appointments, warning signs of brain tumours or tumours in the central nervous system – even before the patient experiences any symptoms.

Given that our eyesight is so important to us, losing our eyesight – whether wholly or partly – can have a serious effect on your quality of life as well as your mental and emotional health. If you or a loved one has been harmed because of optician negligence, an expert clinical negligence solicitor can help you on the road to recovering the compensation you deserve.

Thankfully, reported cases of optician negligence are not that common. Most optometrists, both within the NHS and in private practice, provide a high level of service and work hard to protect their patients’ eyesight and health. However, mistakes can and do happen and risks are missed – with potentially devastating results for the patient.

To find out more about making no win no fee optician negligence claims, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free advice on 0800 234 6438 – or you can fill in one of the secure contact forms on this page and request a call back.


3 in 4 people in the UK either wear glasses or contact lenses or have had laser eye surgery.

SOURCE: Wales Council of the Blind


A 39-year-old Leeds man won £2m in compensation after going blind in his left eye after opticians failed to properly monitor and treat his glaucoma. Colin Fortune eventually suffered a detached retina and his sight could not be saved.


Can I make a no win no fee claim for optician negligence?

Assuming you have a reasonable chance of winning your optician negligence claim, your personal injury claims solicitor will take it on a no win no fee claims basis. Importantly, this removes the financial risk to you in bringing your claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay out any legal fees or costs.

And if you win, you will receive the compensation you’re entitled to – out of which you will pay what is known as a solicitor’s success fee. This success fee is a percentage of your compensation, but never more than 25% of what you recover for eye damage compensation.

We know suing for compensation may seem a daunting prospect, so it can be reassuring to know that getting started with making an optician negligence claim is simple – you deserve free legal advice. Simply call 0800 234 6438 for no obligation advice from an experienced legal professional at a specialist personal injury law firm. They’ll talk you through what has happened, explain your options and how the claim process works.

Accident claims solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – giving you much needed peace of mind during the no win no fee personal injury claims process.


13 out of 30 visits to opticians were rated poor/very poor by an expert panel of optometrists. Failings included patients not being warned about common eye health problems and important tests being missed – which could reveal potentially serious eye issues

SOURCE: Which?

How do you prove optician negligence?

As a medical professional, a high standard of optometrists is expected – they are expected to use their professional skills in the manner expected from a reasonably competent optician. Your solicitor will take full details of what has happened: your symptoms, the tests you were given, any incorrect treatment and advice provided by your optician and the impact on your eye health and your sight, and how it is affecting your work, family and social life.

To win these types of medical negligence claims, it is necessary to prove on balance that the optician breached their duty towards the individual, for example, missed a warning sign of disease or cancer; and that the patient suffered harm as a direct result.

During the optician negligence claims process, your solicitor will also arrange for a specialist medical examination for you (at no cost to you). Your lawyers will use this to make an informed decision as to how much compensation you should receive, and attempt to negotiate a settlement with other wide.

Once your solicitor has all the information about your claim, they’ll be able to provide an estimate of how much compensation you might expect to receive. In gross negligence claims involving permanent brain damage and disability, you can expect optician compensation to be substantial.

Who will I sue for optician negligence?

This depends on the circumstances of your eye injury or damage. The harm may have been caused by negligent treatment at the hands of, eg an optometrist, ophthalmologist or eye surgeon.

In some cases, the claim will be brought against the individual responsible. However, more often than not, their employer will be held responsible under the legal principle of ‘vicarious liability’. This means that for legal purposes the employer – such as an NHS trust, private clinic, Boots opticians, etc – will be held liable for the actions or omission of their staff.

These organisations will invariably have insurance cover to protect them from the risk of a medical negligence claim. In the event of a successful claim, the insurer will make the compensation payout.

Will I need a specialist assessment?

In all medical negligence claims, including optician negligence claims, an important step will be undergoing a medical assessment with a specialist. Your solicitor will arrange for you to see an eye specialist, probably an optometrist or ophthalmologist, for a detailed assessment of your eyesight and health and discuss with you what has happened. They will then write a medical report based on this assessment, setting out their view on the standard of care and treatment you were given, your prognosis and what further treatment you may need.

This report will be vital to your claim and will enable your solicitor to calculate how much compensation you’re entitled to; and to start negotiations for a compensation settlement with the other side.

However, you need not worry about the cost of this as your solicitor will arrange it for you; the cost or the expert report will be covered under your accident claims no win no fee agreement.

What types of optician negligence take place?

The eyes are a delicate part of the body, so even a small medical mistake can cause permanent damage to your sight and to the health of your eyes. Optician negligence can happen in a number of different ways, leading to medical negligence claims. These are the most common forms of negligence:


Opticians are trained to examine the eye both internally and externally. Advances in technology mean they are able to see and detect more than ever before. If insufficient care and attention is taken, your optician may incorrectly diagnose you with a different condition to what you actually have.

In some cases, a misdiagnosis may mean you’re prescribed incorrect treatment which could cause further damage, such as reduced or double vision.

Failure to diagnose

Your optician might have carelessly overlooked an eye condition which may have led to delayed treatment and your condition – and possibly your sight – getting worse. You might be suffering, for instance a retinal detachment, a form of glaucoma or an optic nerve problem that could indicate a tumour. Without a diagnosis and treatment, the outcome for the patient is likely to be serious.

In some cases, the optician may have failed to investigate warning signs that were detectable if care had been taken, leaving the problem to worsen. If a reasonably competent optician should have made a diagnosis or, at least, investigate – these failures to diagnose amounts to negligence and legal advice should be taken.

Delayed treatment

In some cases, your optician might recommend that you delay or postpone your eye treatment. This may well be a good call – it can be a fine balance deciding whether delaying treatment and giving the chance for the eye/s to adjust or recover without help, is preferable to being treated too early.

But if they fail to recognise that prompt treatment is needed, this is likely to amount to negligence. Where delays in treatment cause you unnecessary harm, for example an eye disease such as age-related macular degeneration worsens as direct result – you could claim compensation.

There are many cases where the patient ought to have been advised to seek medical attention, or to see an eye specialist such as an ophthalmologist, but this advice was not provided. The fact is, when someone develops eye or vision problems, they arrange an eye test as a first step when it’s medical attention that they need. Where the patient has an eye injury or condition that deteriorates because they did not see a medical doctor, the optometrist could be held legally responsible for the pain and injury this caused.

Wrong glasses or contact lens prescription

Anyone prescribed the wrong strength of glasses or contact lenses could adversely affect their vision after a while; and is likely to cause headaches or migraines.  Using the wrong prescription over a lengthier time period could damage your eyesight and you may need corrective surgery. In severe cases the damage can be permanent.

Unfortunately, these types of cases are not uncommon. In 2017, consumer watchdog Which? carried out an investigation of 30 opticians and found two out of ten prescriptions were inaccurate.

However, where a claim is made on the grounds that the wrong prescription was given, it can be very difficult to prove negligence; and even where negligent treatment can be demonstrated, it will then be challenging to prove on balance that you were caused harm as direct result.

Surgical accidents

Facing the prospect of an eye operation is traumatic for anyone, but if the surgery goes wrong the results can be catastrophic. If you or a loved one has suffered further as a result of a negligently performed cataract or corneal surgical procedure, or your after-care was not what it should have been – it is important you take specialist legal advice to see if you can make a compensation claim for ophthalmic negligence.

DID YOU KNOW: A catastrophic surgical mix up leading to a 10-year-old girl, Maisha Najeeb, being injected with glue instead of dye, was left blind in one eye, confined to a wheelchair and needing 24-hour care. Great Ormond Street Hospital admitted liability and Maisha was awarded an initial £2.8m plus annual payments of £383,000 until she’s 19. She will then receive annual payments of £423,000 until her death.
SOURCE: The Guardian

Laser eye surgery errors

Laser eye surgery and lens surgery are becoming increasingly common, for good reason. These procedures are safe and they work – removing (or reducing) the need to rely on specs or contact lenses.

Laser eye surgery involves cutting open the cornea and reshaping it using a laser in order to correct the vision. Most people have the surgery carried out privately, costing around £2,000-£3,000 per eye. There are three types of laser surgery (LASIK, SMILE and surface laser treatment) – the surgeon will advise which one is best in your case.  There are two types of lens surgery (phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) and refractive lens exchange (RLE)

Thankfully, most cases do go smoothly and patients are happy with the outcome. Yet sometimes mistakes do happen – whether during the initial examination with the surgeon; failure to explain the risks ahead of surgery or during the treatment. Even where laser eye surgery successfully takes place, poor aftercare and advice could result in harm that could have been avoided.

The consequences of a mistake can be serious – for example, it could cause an astigmatism, poor night vision, dry eyes or even permanent damage to your eyesight.

If you still have questions about seeking compensation for medical negligence, or would like to find out whether you could make a case, you can speak to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

What are the most common symptoms of optician negligence?

As well as affecting your ability to see, optician medical negligence can also lead to impaired vision, headaches and/or migraines, dry eyes, eye strain or reduced night vision. You could also develop further problems in the general health of your eye, all of which could have been avoided.

In cases of gross negligence, the injured person could face life-changing eye or brain injuries that may shorten their life. No matter what type of eye injury you’ve suffered, you may be able to bring claim if it was caused by medical negligence.

At claims.co.uk, you will be put in touch with specialist solicitors experienced in optician negligence who operate on a no win no fee basis. Their personal injury team will work on your behalf to gather evidence and build the strongest case for you. For free advice about whether you might have a claim, call free on 0800 234 6438 or, if you prefer, fill in the online contact form to request a call back.

DID YOU KNOW: Over 100,000 people a year in the UK alone undergo laser eye surgery.

Can I make a no win no fee optician negligence claim?

Almost all medical negligence claims and optician negligence compensation claims are made on a no win no fee basis. This removes the financial risk to you of making a claim, as you will not have to pay any legal fees or costs if your claim is unsuccessful. If you don’t win, your legal costs will be covered by ATE insurance taken out by your solicitor on your behalf.

If you do win your case, you will receive compensation for your eye injuries. Out of this, you’ll pay your solicitor what’s known as a ‘success fee’ which will be a percentage of the money you receive. But you can rest assured that this will be a relatively small amount – no more than 25% of your compensation.

The most important step you can take is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 about making your optician negligence claim. They’ll talk you through the background and the eye problems you’re experience, explain your options then partner you with a specialist team of optician negligence solicitors.

Solicitors’ firms are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – giving you much needed peace of mind during the optician negligence claims process.

What are the complications of optician negligence?

It’s not difficult to imagine how someone’s eyesight or their eye health can deteriorate if their optician negligently failed to detect a condition, meaning that treatment has been delayed (or was nonexistent). The potential complications of optician negligence include:

  • Partial or total loss of vision, whether temporary or permanent
  • Eye disease developing or worsening
  • Blurred or double vision, eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the neck and shoulder
  • Tumours continuing to grow, surgery, cancer treatment and possibly death
  • Psychological and emotional harm, including anxiety and loss of confidence

No individual deserves to suffer needless harm or to have their eyesight affected because of an optician’s negligence. Thankfully, the law provides an important remedy – allowing the individual to start a claim for compensation. We know compensation cannot undo the damage, but it can help you in your rehabilitation and to cover the costs of further treatment and surgery, and any aids you’ll need to help you lead a normal life.

To begin your personal injury compensation claim, get in touch with a legal advisor straightaway on 0800 234 6438 for a free consultation. Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, they’ll advise you whether you’re eligible to bring a case against your employer, and if so, they will pass you on to specialist personal injury lawyers who can help you make your claim.


In 2019-20, more than 11,000 optician negligence claims were made against the NHS alone

Can I claim for age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes distortion to the eyesight or loss of central vision and it’s not known what causes it. However, it can be detected during routine optician appointments. If your optician fails to detect it, you may be able to claim compensation.

You could also make a claim for age-related macular degeneration if your optician has not treated you soon enough. This condition is not painful but if it’s not detected quickly and treated effectively, the patient is at risk of loss of vision – even in a matter of weeks in some cases.

Can I make a claim for diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetes heightens the individual’s risk of developing an eye condition and potential blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the complications associated with diabetes and is where high sugar levels cause damage to the retina – in serious cases, the retina can become detached.

Diabetic children are also at risk, which is why – from the age of 12 – anyone with diabetes is called for eye screening every year to enable any early signs of the disease to be picking up. In circumstances where diabetic retinopathy is not detected and treated, or where the annual invite for eye screening is missed and harm is caused as a result, you may be able to make an optician negligence claim.

Can I make a cataract claim?

Cataracts are not uncommon in the over 60s age group, but they can be devastating nonetheless. Fortunately, cataracts can be easily removed by a simple surgical procedure in which the cataract –the cloudy lens of the eye – is replaced with a clear plastic lens.

The vast majority of cataract procedures are successful but if something goes wrong, you may be able to claim compensation for medical negligence claim.

Can I make a claim for glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually caused by fluid pressure in the eye and/or a weak optic nerve. It is common and can damage the optic nerve, yet it’s often very slow in developing and causes no symptoms to begin with. However, if undetected and untreated it can lead to loss of peripheral vision.

Your optometrist should ask about any history of glaucoma in the family; and if you are developing symptoms yourself your optician should refer you to an ophthalmologist for additional tests, diagnosis and treatment.

In cases where your optician has failed to detect the initial signs, or failed to refer you to a specialist, you may be able to claim compensation if your condition worsens.

Can I sue my optician?

There’s no doubt about it – we rely on our eyesight every day, and if your vision has been affected by negligence then it can truly be life-changing. It’s not just your ability to see that’s at risk – your eye health and general health, including your psychological health, could be at risk.

Eye damage may have affected your ability to work, drive, read and play sports or take part in hobbies. And on top of everything else, it can also have an impact on your mental health: causing depression, anxiety and a lack of confidence or self-esteem. If this is the result of carelessness on the part of your optician, you could start claiming optician negligence compensation.

A trained legal adviser will be able to help you get access to the right personal injury solicitor for your case, and to make the process of claiming compensation as simple and straightforward as possible. Importantly, they’ll leave you with the time and energy to focus on getting things back on track.

Your adviser will have the expertise to be able to let you know whether it’s likely you could make a compensation claim. And once they’ve put you in touch with one of their personal injury claims solicitors, you’ll receive the very best legal representation. They will do most of the work on your behalf when claiming your optician negligence compensation payout.

Get in touch as soon as you can by calling 0800 234 6438, or arrange a call back using the claim form on this page.

Read more about no win no fee


An optometrist was struck of the register of the General Optical Council after she missed warnings signs of a rare and fatal condition during an eye examination of a 10-year-old boy.

SOURCE: The Times

What compensation could I claim?

As in all personal injury cases, your solicitor will seek to recover maximum compensation to reflect your pain and suffering, and the financial impact of what has happened to you following optician negligence.

The amount of compensation you receive for your actual eye or vision damage, and any psychological harm is called ‘general damages’ and how much you receive depends on your particular circumstances.

In most injury claims, you can also seek what’s called ‘special damages’ to compensate you for your out-of-pocket expenses and any future financial costs you’re expecting to have to pay out as a direct result of your optician’s negligence.

How much compensation could I receive for my eye damage?

If you’re wondering what the average pay out for optician negligence in the UK is, there’s no ballpark figure because each case depends on its specific facts. Your specialist solicitors will take a number of factors into account, including the extent of your sight loss, any disease and your potential prognosis and recovery before calculating how much you may be entitled to.

While it is very difficult to give guidelines figures for your eye injury claim early in your claim, there are official guidelines – the Judicial College Guidelines (2022 edition) – which personal injury specialists refer to when calculating compensation amounts. For example:

  • Loss of sight in one eye – £49,270 to £54,830
  • Moderate loss of vision in one eye – £22,231 to £36,960
  • Minor eye injuries – £9,110 to £20,980

You can also try our online compensation calculator for a rough, initial estimate of how much your optician negligence compensation claim may be worth – but bear in mind it should only be treated as a guide. Your specialist injury solicitors will discuss your compensation with you in more detail. You can be reassured that your lawyer will work hard in securing maximum compensation on your behalf.

What if I was partly to blame for my eye injury?

In the unlikely event you were partly to blame for your eye damage, for example you delayed seeking an initial appointment with a medical professional, your compensation is likely to be reduced. This is called ‘contributory negligence’.

If you’re concerned that you might be held to blame, don’t worry – talk it through with your solicitor. You may find that in legal terms, you’re not to blame at all.

Can I claim for psychological harm?

If you’ve suffered the psychological, mental or emotional impact of your optician’s negligence, your solicitor will be able to add a claim for psychological trauma. You will, at the right time, need to have a psychologist or psychiatrist assessment carried out so that they can write a report on the psychological impact of your eye injury/vision loss on you and your life.

This will be crucial for your compensation claim for psychological harm.  As in the case of the specialist medical assessment, the cost of your expert report will be covered by your no win no fee agreement.

Don’t hesitate to talk this through with your solicitors. They can take the necessary steps to secure the full compensation you deserve to reflect the full impact on your mental and emotional health – as well as for your eye damage.

What financial losses can I claim for?

We understand that not only can non-accidental eye and vision damage be devastating for the individual, they may face the prospect of being unable to work, unable to pay for further medical treatment and having to make changes in the home to make their daily life easier.

Thankfully, your claim can include an amount to cover your reasonable financial losses which are linked directly to the harm you’ve suffered. For example, you could claim:

  • Loss of past and future earnings, loss of bonuses and overtime
  • Travel expenses for medical and therapy appointments
  • Medical expenses, including the costs of private surgery by an eye specialist
  • Rehabilitation and alteration costs, such as the costs of walking sticks, visual aids, handrails and other home or vehicle adaptations
  • Long-term care costs

It’s vital to keep any receipts, invoices and other paperwork to prove the costs what you’re claiming.  Your solicitor will need these to help you claim maximum compensation to cover the full financial impact. They will also be able to talk you through what you can and can’t claim for, so don’t worry too much this early on in your claim when you’re probably coming to terms with that’s happened.

Could I get an interim compensation payment?

In some cases, it is possible to secure interim compensation to help individuals before optician negligence claims are finally settled (this can take many months if not years). If you need access to funds early on, for example to pay for alterations at home or to arrange further eye surgery, make sure you talk to your solicitor as soon as possible.

However, interim payments can only be made if the other side has admitted liability. If your optician (or the NHS trust or clinic) accepts responsibility for what happened to you, your solicitor will negotiate an initial compensation payment to help you with short term financial needs. This amount will be deducted from the final settlement once its agreed.

How long do I have to make a claim?

The general rule is that you have three years from the date of the negligent act or omission to start legal proceedings for compensation. After three years, you may be ‘time barred’ from making a claim for injury compensation.

However, the damage that has been caused by negligence in the case of opticians may not become apparent until months if not longer. In these cases, the three-year time limit starts to run from the date of ‘knowledge’, ie. the date on which you could have been expected to be aware that harm was caused by optician negligence.

In the case of a child, the three years starts from the time they reach 18 years of age. However, it’s always best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible while events are fresh in your mind. Get in touch as soon as you can and speak with a trained legal advisor on 0800 234 6438, or arrange a call back using the claim form on this page.

Starting a claim for optician negligence

The first step to making an optician negligence claim is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. When you speak to them, they’ll ask you some questions about the treatment you received and the effect it’s had. They’ll then be able to let you know whether they think you have a case.

At this point, there’s no obligation to go any further, but if you do decide you’d like to go ahead, the adviser can pass you on to one of their partner solicitors for a free consultation.

About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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