Study finds doctors failing to diagnose serious eye condition

Pennsylvania residents who are 50 years or older are at risk for age-related macular degeneration, a condition that causes a loss of central vision. However, a study published in the JAMA Ophthalmology found that about 25 percent of cases were not diagnosed by trained eye care professionals. Failing to properly diagnose AMD could be problematic, especially as the baby boomer population reaches the age when this particular condition becomes more prevalent.

For the study, researchers reexamined 644 patients who had had a dilated eye exam conducted by an eye care specialist. They found that 25 percent of the patients who had not been diagnosed with AMD actually showed signs of the condition. While there is no cure for the disease, there are some forms of treatment available to slow the progression. Researchers found that 30 percent of individuals who showed signs of the condition would have benefited from treatment, which often includes specific vitamin and mineral supplements.

There are certain symptoms of AMD of which people reaching the age of 50 or who are older should be aware. These symptoms generally include blurry vision and dark spots that appear in a person's vision. Further, straight lines that suddenly look wavy or have a kink in them is concerning, and the person should immediately see a doctor.

If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient with an irreversible, life-altering condition, and the patient suffers serious harm as a result, he or she could potentially file a medical malpractice claim. An attorney may determine if the patient has a viable claim and gather evidence that shows that the doctor was negligent in making a diagnosis. A lawyer may work directly with the doctor and the practice or file the claim in court if the defendants refuse to settle with the patient and pay compensation.

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