A $1.75 million settlement was reached in this medical malpractice suit against an optometrist for failure to properly assess and diagnose glaucoma in a 51-year-old female from Mountainside, New Jersey. Plaintiff began treatment for routine eye care with defendant and Family Vision Health Center in April 2016.
During yearly visits she underwent dilated eye exams including tonometry pressure readings to evaluate the health of her optic nerve. Notably, intraocular pressure measurements are widely understood to be an early predictor for the early detection of glaucoma. Plaintiff’s eye pressure was elevated starting at the 2018 visit, yet she was not referred out to an ophthalmologist for more specialized optic nerve evaluation until two years later.
On January 25, 2020, Plaintiff was diagnosed with advanced stage open angle glaucoma. The delay in diagnosis resulted in irreversible damage to the optic nerve in both eyes, with the right eye being more advanced than the left. Plaintiff underwent laser trabeculoplasty in August 2020 to help slow progression, but the optic nerve will not repair itself. Her vision is expected to get worse with age. She does not drive at night; cannot read street signs and get confused when walking in unfamiliar places. She cannot exercise due to eye pressure pain. She has fallen due to balance issues. Her daily regimen includes eye drops to slow progression of the glaucoma. The damage is permanent. Plaintiff alleged that defendant’s failure to recognize the danger of Plaintiff’s elevated intraocular pressure and abnormal optic nerve presentation upon exam caused the severe and irreversible damage with progressive vision loss.
Bruce H. Nagel, Esq. and Susan F. Connors, Esq., of Nagel Rice, LLP handled the case.