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Award for woman left blind after delays in treatment.

A mother of three was awarded £3.2m compensation after delays in treating an eye condition led to her going permanently blind.

The woman, in her 30s, was not seen by a consultant for more than 18 months after she first noticed her sight failing, by which time it could not be reversed.

She gave birth to her third child after she had gone blind.

A NHS spokesman said delays and shortage of ophthalmic specialists were a "significant national problem.”

The woman first went to an optician in June 2016 after noticing her sight worsening.

She was diagnosed with glaucoma and referred to Southampton Eye Hospital where she was prescribed eye-drops and told she would have follow-up appointments.

But by the time she saw a senior consultant in February 2018, the woman was registered blind and her sight loss could not be reversed.

An internal NHS serious investigation report found 15 other patients were left blind, or with worsened sight loss, after delays in identifying their risk factors.

The investigation showed more than 4,000 patients had not been seen as quickly as needed.

A statement from University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust said: "We have taken a number of steps to address the backlog in follow-up appointments with all patients now risk-assessed to ensure those most in need are seen at the earliest opportunity."

It added that 88 per cent of trusts have backlogs in diabetes and glaucoma and there are more 80 vacancies for consultants in England.