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Serious eye condition commonly misdiagnosed

May 24, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

Doctors in New York could be misdiagnosing nearly 25 percent of all age-related macular degeneration cases, according to a study. The research was published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Approximately 14 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, which is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss for those at or over the age of 50. The disease causes the loss of a patient’s central vision, which makes reading and other common tasks difficult. There is no cure for the condition, but doctors have developed ways to slow it down. This means early detection is important.

However, researchers from the University of Alabama found that an alarming number of AMD patients are being misdiagnosed. For the study, they re-evaluated 644 patients who had been examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist and told they did not have AMD. The results showed that 25 percent of the patients actually did have signs of the condition. Of those, around 30 percent would have benefited from a vitamin treatment that slows the progression of the disease. Because of this, the authors of the study recommend that more people become familiar with the risk factors and symptoms associated with AMD. Risk factors include being over 60, being female, suffering from farsightedness and having a family history of the disease. Symptoms include blurry vision and seeing dark spots.

A doctor’s failure to diagnose a disease such as AMD can cause a patient to suffer a worsened medical condition. Victims of misdiagnosis may wish to discuss their case with a medical malpractice attorney. After evaluating the case, an attorney could help gather medical records supporting the claim and work to obtain a settlement that covers medical expenses, pain and suffering and other losses.

Source: AARP, "Serious Eye Condition Being Misdiagnosed?", Gabrielle Redford, April 28, 2018