Medical Legal Considerations When Treating Glaucoma Patients

  • J. Wesley Samples
  • John R. Samples


The unique aspects of glaucoma care, due to its lifelong nature, represent specific medical-legal challenges. This is at least in part due to the fact that while loss of sight is infrequently life threatening, it is almost always devastating. Thus, patients who have suffered loss of sight are often well enough to personally pursue litigation. While glaucoma does not generate the most litigation in ophthalmology (cataract surgery lawsuits are more common), civil suits claiming “failure to diagnose” glaucoma are relatively common. On average, 300 ophthalmologists per year were sued between 1985 and 2007, of which roughly one-quarter resulted in judgments against the ophthalmologists. Side effects of glaucoma medications and the need to adequately warn the patient, and/or the patient’s caregiver, about these side effects represent central challenges that must be addressed to ensure the high quality of care while also minimizing legal liability.


Glaucoma Patient Visual Field Loss Angle Closure Glaucoma Medical Malpractice Glaucoma Medication 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wesley Samples
    • 1
  • John R. Samples
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Class of 2011Submissions Editor, Case Western Reserve Journal of Law, Technology & theInternetNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Health and Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Rocky Vista UniversityParkerUSA
  4. 4.Pacific Coast Oto-Ophthalmology Society Specialty Eye CareParkerUSA

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