Opthalmologist medical malpractice: Eye doctor misdiagnoses serious eye condition

Have you ever lost a contact lens? It can be annoying. What happened to a British woman, though, took this common frustration to a whole new level.

The woman, aged 42 years old, had lost a contact lens when she was a teenager. Almost two decades later, she went to see an eye doctor after she discovered a pea-sized lump on her lower left eyebrow that was causing her eyelid to droop. This is a condition called ptosis, which is considered a focal neurologic deficit requiring workup.

Her physician ordered an MRI, which showed a cyst. During surgery to remove the cyst, lo and behold, they found the long-forgotten contact lens. It had migrated into the eyelid, where the cyst formed over time.

I’m not sure what it is about Great Britain, but the same article that I read discussed an older woman who went to her doctor for cataract surgery. The ophthalmologist discovered that the bluish mass she was complaining of was actually one of 27 contact lenses. Wow!

In all seriousness, when something goes wrong with your vision, it is important to consult an eye doctor immediately.

Optometrists are not medical doctors, but have special training and how to correct vision with contact lenses and eyeglasses. For more serious eye problems, you should go to an ophthalmologist, a specially-trained medical doctor for diseases of the eye.

Ophthalmology medical malpractice

As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have represented clients who timely sought medical care from an ophthalmologist who botched the treatment.

I am working on a case right now for a patient who went to see an urgent care clinic physician because his eye was red. The doctor told him that he had conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, and prescribed medication to treat it.

About a week later, though, he noticed blisters on his eyeball that would burst and make his eye very red. The urgent care doctor referred him to an ophthalmologist.

Unfortunately, the ophthalmologist did not do a thorough workup. He lifted his upper eyelid and noticed that it was covered in bumps. The ophthalmologist settled on the diagnosis of scleritis (inflammation of the white part of the eye) and prescribed special eyedrops.

After a month of treatment with no substantial improvement, this man’s eye suddenly started having pain like was being stabbed by needles. He immediately went back to see the ophthalmologist, who laughed it off and suggested an over-the-counter eye drop, like No More Tears. A week later, the ophthalmologist prescribed a steroid drop, prednisolone acetate, likely to try to reduce inflammation.

Within days of using the new eyedrops, his eye became the glazed over and his vision was cloudy. My client went to see another ophthalmologist who was understandably shocked at his eye condition.

His new ophthalmologist diagnosed him with shingles of the eye and ordered Valtrex. The doctor thinks that because there was such a delay in treating the condition, the damage is likely permanent and he cannot even get a cornea transplant because of the amount of damage.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by care provided by an eye doctor, hospital, physician, or surgeon, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.


All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.