Blindness Complaints - Queensland Medical Rights - QLD Solicitors

LAWYER HELPLINE: 07 3613 7325


If you think that you have received inadequate or negligent medical treatment which has caused blindness, our solicitors will be able to assist you in making a complaint to the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in Queensland. Our QLD based solicitors deal with health care complaints on a ‘pro bono’ basis and will not make any charge to you for advice on how to make a complaint to the Office of the Health Ombudsman. A complaint to the Office of the Health Ombudsman in QLD is not a medical negligence compensation claim and will not result in the payment of compensation but may assist you in further understanding what went wrong and why you were treated in the way that has caused you concern. There are a number of possible outcomes and the Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman may be able to obtain a more full explanation of the circumstances of any alleged negligence or may give you more details about the treatment that you have received.

Permanent Blindness

Permanent blindness is a common problem. There are around 285 million people with some sort of blindness in the world as of 2012. A total of 39 million were completely blind. The leading causes of blindness are near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, cataracts and glaucoma. Most of the blind people in the world are over the age of 50 and come from developing countries.

Total blindness is the lack of form and visual light perception. There are lesser degrees of blindness that still disable a person. The term, NLP, stands for “no light perception” and is the worst kind of blindness a person can have. The rest of people with blindness can residually see some things, whether it be light or shapes. Some can tell the general direction of a light source and nothing else. Low vision is described as having total vision of less than 20/60. Blindness is visual acuity of less than 20/400 or a loss of visual field of 10 degrees or less.

Blind people with eyes that are not damaged may still register the day to night schedule and may still have a Circadian rhythm even though they cannot see. Different pathways send signals to the hypothalamus so that even if the optic nerve is damaged, the person’ s body can tell the difference between nighttime and daytime.

Blindness can be caused by diseases or by trauma. Trauma can be from a sporting injury, violence, motor vehicle accidents and hunting accidents. Diseases that cause blindness include the following conditions:

  • Cataracts—almost half of the total causes
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal opacification
  • Macular degeneration secondary to age
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Congenital blindness
  • Trachoma
  • Onchocerciasis

Blindness does not exist on its own. It has a number of comorbidities including autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. It turns out that in a recent study, 68 percent of blind people had some kind of disability along with their blindness. Hearing loss is common in a condition called deaf-blindness. More than half of all completely blind people did not have a normal 24 hour wake-sleep cycle. A blind person’s circadian rhythm is slightly longer than 24 hours so they need to have help accommodating to a regular schedule.

In Developing Countries

There are more blind people per capita in developing countries than in other parts of the world. According to WHO, 90 percent of blind people live in developing countries. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness. Glaucoma is the second most common cause. Leprosy affects those in developing countries, accounting for a million cases of blindness worldwide. Xerophthlamia affects 5 million kids each year and 500,000 of them develop corneal disease and blindness. Central corneal ulceration affects those that live in the Indian subcontinent and these people go blind. Corneal scarring is currently the fourth leading cause of blindness throughout the world. The sad part of the deal is that many cases of blindness in the world stem from completely surgically correctable conditions. It is estimated that 70-80 percent of people worldwide have correctable forms of blindness.

In Developed Countries

In areas such as Australia, the major causes of blindness are trauma, macular degeneration and diabetic neuropathy. Cataracts are common but these are generally adequately treated in developed countries. Trauma can be secondary to fires in which the eyes are damaged, chemical exposure that damages the eyes, motor vehicle accidents, and violence between two people. Some of the trauma can be corrected, such as when the cornea is affected but not the optic nerve or the retina. If the optic nerve or retina is damaged, the vision is lost in the affected eye.

Eye injuries usually affect those people under the age of thirty. These are the greatest cause of monocular blindness in Australia. Cataracts are the second greatest cause of monocular blindness but this is usually correctable.

The foetus can become blinded by means of two common problems. The first is congenital rubella, in which the mother becomes infected by the rubella virus. The second is called retinopathy of prematurity and occurs when the foetus is delivered too early and is exposed to too high a level of oxygen after birth. This problem has been lessened over the years since it was discovered that too much oxygen was the cause.

People who are born with albinism generally have some vision loss and many are legally blind at the time of birth. They usually have some visibility. There is a condition called Leber’s congenital amaurosis that causes total blindness or at least severe loss of vision from a very young age. There is another condition called Bardet-Biedl syndrome, which is a genetic cause of blindness.

Poisoning can cause blindness. Methanol, often used by alcoholics on the street, can result in blindness. It breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde that cause blindness. They can lead to death if one continues to consume it. Methanol can be found in denatured ethyl alcohol and methylated spirits. It is made by those who don’t want to have to pay a tax on selling alcohol for human use. Alcoholics will drink methylated spirits when they can’t get a hold of regular alcohol so they use the methanol version, resulting in blindness.

HELPLINE: 07 3613 7325