H.F. asks from Chicago, IL on February 26, 2010
Eye issue..Do We Have Recourse? Not Sure What to Do..
We took our then 5 year old son to the eye doctor for his kindergarten exam and they stated he was farsighted and amblyopia, so they prescribed glasses for him and he only had to wear them when doing things close up. At that time his right was 20/25 and his left was 20/30. We got the glasses and went about our business. We took him back 4 days ago to a new doctor and he has gotten significantly worse so bad that he his right is now 20/30 and his left has deteriorated to 20/50 without correction. They stated that he now has to wear a patch to correct the amblyopia and he has to wear glasses for everything he does. When the new doctor tested his glasses to see what prescription he had, there was NOTHING in there. So the old doctor essentially screwed up and gave us frames with glass - nothing therapeutic....and his eyes have gotten worse. SO, when he was 5 and at a better age to correct this, they didn't treat it as they should have because of a grave error, and now that he's 7 and its worse, we have less time to fix this. Do we have some type of recourse? Is this malpractice? I've been soul searching for the last three days, because this is my child - who may have had a chance for this to correct, and now, who knows....but its gotten worse...any support - suggestions would be much welcomed.
So What Happened?™
One last thing to add in light of the couple responses so far - he want in first on October 28, 2008, and we just went again February 23rd, 2010, so we waited 16 months for his appt. And the old doctor admitted they made a mistake and ordered nothing, so we have that going in our favor in finding them negligent.
B.R. answers from Cleveland on February 26, 2010
I don't know if it's malpractice, but it's definately negligence on the part of the old eye doctor. If you are thinking about suing, you need to think about a few things. What would you sue for? You won't get tons of money. You might get any additional eye care paid for by them. What additional eye care will he need now because of this? You would need to get all this documented. Have you contacted the old doctor? Did they seem willing to work with you? The old eye doctor can decide not to cooperate with you. It has been two years. They could say that the glasses were tampered with. They could say that you were negligent in not getting a follow up appointment for two years (most kids get an eye exam every year, and you waited two years to have him checked again). Just some things to think about.
This is terrible. I feel so bad for you and your son. I can't believe that an eye doctor gave you glasses with just plain glass in them! You must be so upset. Contact a lawyer for a free consult and see what they tell you. Document everything along the way. Good luck and let us know what happened!
1 mom found this helpful
I.G. answers from Seattle on February 26, 2010
I would definitely do something.
You could see a lawyer and get information about a possible malpractice suit.
If you don't care about the legal route, you should at least report the incident to both, your insurance company and the authority for physician's/optometrist licensing in your state.
P.W. answers from San Francisco on February 26, 2010
From my understanding, having glasses or the lack thereof cannot damage the eye. In other words, even if he had had the correct prescription his eyes would have gotten worse if that's what they were going to do.
Glasses, to my knowledge, are only corrective, not preventive. So you would only be entitled to get money back for the cost of the fake glasses and the eye appointment.
I just googled this question and I am correct. The fact that your son was not wearing the correct prescription did not damage his eyes. That should make you feel better. However, I would get a different ophthalmologist. That one is obviously inept.
K.S. answers from Detroit on February 26, 2010
the amount of stress in having a lawsuit is tremendous and very costly. It sounds as if your son s eyes could have gotten worse anyway. I would ask the first doc to pay for new glasses. My daughter has to have her eyes checked every six months becase hers are so bad. We also did testing for Irlens syndrom because she notice that she could see things in blue much better than black and white. check that out its way more common than people know. she also has double vision and had to have a prism put in. Dr. Dubin in birmingham mi may know someone in chicago to do indepth testing. I had her at 4 other doc before we figured out her eyes. there only a few people in the country that so this special testing. Good luck
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on February 26, 2010
Because it's a legal issue, I think you're best suited calling an attorney to see if this is a case of malpractice (it may be the optician's fault, not the optometrist's) and if the statute of limitations has passed based upon your stat's laws.
J.P. answers from Chicago on February 27, 2010
I just wanted to mention that you might want to look into vision therapy through a behavioral optometrist to help your son's vision problems. My now 12 year old daughter got her first pair of glasses when she was 4 years old. At the time we were told that she was severly nearsighted. Every 6 months since then she has received stronger lenses. We kept asking our opthamologist when this would end and he said probably when she stopped growing - in the meantime we were afraid she would become legally blind! Finally, 4 months ago when she was complaining of seeing double we decided to do some research into severe myopia on our own which lead us to have her tested by a behavioral optometrist and what we discovered literally brought my husband and me to tears. My poor daughter's whole world was the first 2 feet in front of her. Even with the strong glasses she could not focus on anything past what was right in front of her - everything beyond that point was flat. It explained so many things to us - why she always walked on her tiptoes (her pediatricians never mentioned this could be part of her poor vision) and her lack of ability to play sports - although she was able to ride horses (which horrified the behavioral optometrist). After having had vision therapy now for a few months, she can finally see things in 3-D, her peripheral vision has improved tremendously and colors are much brighter to her. The doctor explained that her brain and eyes have not been working together and that is partly what they work on in the therapy sessions - plus she has special glasses just for her using prisms and tinting. She will always be nearsighted but at least we have stopped it from getting worse. Actually, she now has lenses that are much less of a prescription than she had before. I just wanted to mention that this might be worth looking into at some point. There is a lot of information on the internet about vision therapy - many optometrists and opthamologists poo-poo it (including ours) but we were willing try anything to help our daughter and it has given her a much better life. Good luck with both your son's vision ussues and whatever you decide to do regarding the doctor who screwed up! I tell you, you really have to be proactive when it comes to your health and that of your kid's!
W.P. answers from Chicago on February 27, 2010
No offense to Page W. but she is incorrect. My child has the exact same condition. The corrective lenses do actually make a difference in the actual treatment of the condition of amblyopia. The farsightedness of the vision makes it impossible for the child's eyes to focus, therefore one eye goes out of focus, and as I'm sure you've been told the child can lose sight in one eye! SO it can become serious. I don't know where you are located but I strongly recommend Marilyn Mets at Children's Memorial. She treated my child from the age of 5 and has been amazing.
The eye patching is very important and so are regular appointments. Now as to your other doctor that sounds like total malpractice to me. I've never heard of anything so bizarre as an eye doctor not ordering the right lenses or ones that did nothing! Did the doctor's office actually handle that? You didn't take them somewhere else? Usually the doc gives you a prescription and you take it somewhere to be filled. In this case, a place where they have child size frames. And the doctor should check to make sure all is good once they have the glasses.
I would totally see a lawyer and make sure you are seeing a PEDIATRIC eye doctor!!!! Good luck to you and if you want any further info from me my email is on my profile.
K.B. answers from Milwaukee on February 26, 2010
I would mention something in person to the previous doctor, they screwed up and even thought it was two years ago they should at least check into why the glasses did not have the correct prescription in them and give you an answer as to what was screwed up. If they avoid this then I would look into bring a lawyer in. You paid for something and they did not give it to you/your son. Try to keep your calm, it is hard when it has something to do with your child BUT by remaining calm they will work with you more (hopefully) in working something out. If you walk in saying you will bring in a lawyer they will clam up and say nothing.
I have been told the only way to stop it in its track is to treat it BEFORE 5 years old, but if amblyopia is mild it sometimes goes unnoticed till adulthood. With that you can not say that the amblyopia for sure got worse because the glasses (which might not even be the doctor's fault, unless he wrote the wrong thing down when filling out the paperwork), it could have gotten worse anyway, so I would not sue for malpractice right away... but if the doctor/office avoid dealing with giving you answers on WHY this mistake was made why the no prescription glasses then that give you more leverage to come in with a lawyer.
ADDED: if they know they made a mistake ask what they plan to do now, cover the additional servies reguarding the amblyopia (and by someone you trust)... I would get a free consultation from a lawyer and see what they say.
Side note: Now that your son is 7, I know that between age 7 - 12 you can do vision therapy that could help your son improve the amblyopia. Some places use cards if images while others use computers to train the eye to focus through various eye exercises. Might also use an eye patch to help train the eye, but only during the exercises.