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Optometrists and Medical Malpractice

When it comes to general practitioners and surgeons, most people know that these medical professionals can be sued for medical malpractice. Some people are even aware that nurses, dentists and pharmacists can be sued for negligence or error. What about optometrists?

It is difficult to sue an optometrist for medical malpractice in many cases. This is because common errors, like over or under prescribing, cause little to no injury to the patient. You notify your doctor that your lenses are not working well for you, your eyes are re-examined and you are given a new prescription.

While there are few instances in which an optometrist can successfully be sued for medical malpractice, it does happen. The majority of malpractice cases involving optometrists are due to glaucoma, retinal detachment and tumors.


Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of pressure in the eyes. Even though it is an inherited condition, it typically appears later in life. Without treatment, the disease can lead to permanent blindness in just a few years. Failure to diagnose glaucoma is one of the reasons optometrists are sued for medical malpractice.

Retinal Detachment

The failure by an optometrist to properly diagnose or treat retinal detachment can leave a patient blind. Retinal detachment is when the retina, the light-sensitive layer of the eye, lifts or is pulled from normal position. The condition can be treated, making it important that it is diagnosed quickly.


Tumors attached to or encasing the optic nerve can lead to blindness or worse. Optometrists must not only complete a thorough eye exam each time, but they need to be careful to ask the right questions and conduct an in-depth medical history. The misdiagnosis of a tumor behind the eye can lead to permanent injury.

It is not enough for an optometrist to have made a mistake. In order to prove a medical malpractice case, you or a loved one must have been injured by the error or negligent act. If you believe that you may have a case against an optometrist in New York, call our office.

You rely on your vision and it shouldn’t be compromised at the hands of a doctor. Call our team for a free case evaluation or browse our website for more information about how we can assist you.

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