Professor Bruce Evans: Expert witness



Professor Bruce Evans has been involved as an expert witness in over 90 cases over the last 25 years. These have included civil litigation, complaints brought before the General Optical Council Disciplinary Committee, NHS tribunals, fraud cases, and criminal cases. He has taken instructions from solicitors for both prosecution and defence including the General Optical council, the Association of Optometrists, NHS organisations, insurance companies, and large and small firms of solicitors. In 2016 Professor Evans provided expert advice on the first criminal prosecution involving an optometrist. Professor Evans has attended several courses on expert witness work, most recently by Bond Solon in November 2023. Professor Evans carries out his expert witness work through Evans Optometric Consultancy Ltd (EOC).


Balanced, independent, objective, articulate, helpful

Instructing solicitors for both Claimants and Defendants and judgements have commented on Professor Evans’ authoritative, considered, and impartial evidence. For example, in the General Optical Council Substantive Hearing Determination F(20)38:

In relation to Professor Evans, the Committee considered that he was balanced, independent, and objective and it found his evidence very helpful. Having regard to his qualifications and experience, the Committee considered that he was a very knowledgeable expert in community optometry, with significant experience in teaching, supervising doctoral students in topics relevant to clinical optometry, and writing textbooks in clinical optometry. He had also practised for over 35 years as a community Optometrist and continued to work in a community optometric practice. The Committee considered that he did not stray outside his field of expertise, had been clear that he was not a specialist in glaucoma, and had accepted the limitations of his knowledge in glaucoma. The Committee was satisfied that he was in a position to give expert evidence in respect of the standards to be expected of a reasonably competent Optometrist.


In the General Optical Council Substantive hearing F(15)14:

The Committee found Professor Evans to be a clear, precise and very articulate expert witness…The Committee concluded that it could place considerable reliance upon

Professor Evans expert evidence in reaching its decisions”.


Examples of cases

The table below are a non-exhaustive list of cases that Professor Evans has assisted with.


General allegation


Did the optometrist fail to detect and refer glaucoma

Professor Evans has completed reports in cases relating to primary open angle glaucoma and primary closed angle glaucoma.

Was an optometrist negligent for not referring keratoconus in a timely way

Professor Evans has been an expert witness in several cases of this type, since keratoconus nowadays often needs to be referred in a timely way for treatment.

Did the optometrist fail to detect and treat or refer strabismus (squint) in a child?

Often, the issue revolves around whether the optometrist took adequate steps to detect the main risk factor for a convergent squint: long-sightedness.

Was an optometrist negligent for not detecting a brain tumour?

Some brain tumours affect the visual pathway, typically causing visual field loss, reduced vision, or optic nerve changes. In some cases, these signs should be detected in sight tests.

Did an optometrist fail to detect & treat/refer a child’s amblyopia (lazy eye)?

The amblyopia usually results from either strabismus or anisometropia, which may not have been detected by an optometrist.

Did the optometrist fail to adequately treat amblyopia (lazy eye)?

Amblyopia is usually treated by patching before the age of 7-12 years. Optometrists can treat the condition or refer. Treatment needs to be appropriate.

Did the optometrist carry out an adequate eye examination of a child?

Children can be difficult to examine. The decision about whether to use cycloplegic drops can also be pivotal.

Did the optometrist fail to detect a decompensating binocular vision anomaly in an adult?

The binocular vision anomaly might be a long-standing muscle weakness or heterophoria. Decompensation should be detected because early intervention might be most effective.

Was an optometrist negligent for failing to detect a retinal detachment?

Professor Evans has been involved in research evaluating the content of optometric eye examinations for patients with symptoms suggestive of retinal detachment.

Was an optometrist negligent for failing to detect a choroidal melanoma?

Professor Evans can comment on the eye examination that should be expected of a reasonably competent optometrist.

Is an optometrist making inappropriate claims from the NHS for children’s spectacles?

Professor Evans has experience of cases where it is alleged that optometrists over-prescribe low prescriptions, bifocals, and/or prisms.


Optometrist, optician, ophthalmologist, orthoptist – what’s the difference?

There are several eye care professions. The largest eye care profession is optometry, and most optometrists work in community optometric practice. These are the professionals who undertake sight tests/eye examinations on optical practices. The optical practices may be associated with a corporate body (e.g., Specsavers, Boots, Vision Express) or independent. Professor Evans is a community optometrist and often assists with cases relating to potential breach of duty of a community optometrist. Professor Evans for many years was chief executive of an independent optical practice which subsequently incorporated. He can opine on the duty of care of optical practices.


A minority of optometrists work in the hospital eye service (secondary care). Professor Evans has limited experience of this sector and is unable to assist in cases relating to the work of hospital optometrists.


Other eye care professionals include ophthalmologists, and dispensing opticians, orthoptists. Professor Evans is not able to assist in cases relating to these healthcare professionals.


Typically, Professor Evans provides opinions relating to Breach of Duty. For most eye diseases (e.g., glaucoma, retinal detachment, tumours), opinions on Causation and Prognosis will require the opinion of a consultant ophthalmologist. For some optical and orthoptic conditions where Professor Evans has expert knowledge (e.g., amblyopia, strabismus, and refractive errors including myopia), Professor Evans may be able to assist with expert evidence on Causation and Prognosis.



For enquiries about Professor Evans’ expert witness work please contact his Personal Assistant, Lesley Barnett: (01277 211164). Professor Evans only accepts instructions from legal professionals and please do not send bundles of documents until availability to act has been confirmed. In most cases, Breach of Duty reports are completed within one month of receiving instructions and documentation.