What had started out as a move to correct her vision, ready for her attempts to join the police force, turned into a nightmare for Stephanie Holloway as she was left with photophobia which spiraled into depression due to way her laser eye surgery had changed her life, and not for the better. Following a legal battle with the Optical Express that she visited, Miss Holloway has been awarded a sum of £500,000 in damages by a judge at Central London County Court.
Miss Holloway originally visited the optical branch in order to look for a procedure to correct her myopia, or shortsightedness. Stephanie, an antiquated book dealer, dreamed of joining the police force and as such required treatment to correct her vision problems. Since her operation, she has seen her sight deteriorate drastically and has been left with hazy vision and photophobia, an abnormal intolerance to visual perception of light, causing pain to her eyes due to her sensitivity. She has now seen her hopes for the future disappear, as well as having to say goodbye to her previous line of work due to her condition. Miss Holloway now wears dark tinted lenses at all time and lives by candlelight, due to the heightened sensitivity to artificial lighting. Worries about her progression to blindness have also left the former Optical Express patient with depression.
The awarding of her £500,000 damages, it is important to note, is not down to medical negligence, but due to the clinic failing to sufficiently warn Stephanie of the dangers and possible complications such surgery carried. Phrases used during the trial in regards to the care and risk warnings Miss Holloway received included, 'enticed' and 'encourage[d] to proceed'. Timescales put forward by the patients legal team indicated consultation periods of just three minutes and consent requests just immediately before surgery, something the judge in this case believed were inadequate to fully and correctly prepare a patient. Miss Holloway likened the whole affair to a 'conveyor belt' in reference to the speed and pressure involved in the whole interaction.
Since the failed operation to correct her myopia, Stephanie Holloway has been advised by doctors that there is nothing further that can be done for her.