Ophthalmologists are often called on to render their expert opinions on matters related to the eye and vision. Their opinions may be important factors that juries consider when deliberating the facts of a case and coming up with a verdict. Since many of the concepts in eye cases can be complex and highly technical, a qualified forensic eye expert can help a jury clearly understand important medical principles and how they relate to the case.
The language of ophthalmology can be a difficult for a lay person to understand. This is partially because ophthalmologists utilize a unique system of medical abbreviations. For example, recording of vision can be done in several mathematical formats. Many concepts in ophthalmology that include optics and the structure of the eye can also be difficult for a layman to comprehend. The use of understandable language by an expert may be of great benefit to all parties in a legal case.
Fortunately, many technical and complex concepts in ophthalmology may be explained through the use of effective visual aids. Pictures, illustrations, video, and blow-ups and other forms of visual aids may help jurors understand and retain information that they can apply to the evidence being offered. Jurors are often very receptive to an eye expert witness who use appropriate visual aids.
The use of visual aids also helps alleviate the drudgery of technical and longwinded testimony. It is desirable for visual aids presented at trial such as videos, computer-aided graphics, are pre-tested to confirm that they work properly. Diagrams and poster photos may be kept as a backup in case a technical problem prevents the use of electronic media.
Analogies can also be used to simplify complex concepts into language that is clear and understandable. For example, a cornea with astigmatic shape may be described as a surface that is similar to a football as opposed to a baseball. The use of language that is understandable by the average juror without being overly simplistic or patronizing is a desirable attribute for a forensic eye witnesses who provide testimony at deposition or trial.
Forensic ophthalmology cases often involve technical concepts involving the eye and vision. The appropriate use of language and visual aids can be helpful in communicating unfamiliar concepts in the litigation process.