When Misdiagnosis and Vision Loss Mix
No one wants to lose their eyesight. The ability to see brings us great beauty as well as a unique connection to the world, and losing it would be an incredible blow to your ability to work, travel independently, and even perform your favorite hobbies.
There are many medical conditions that can lead to vision loss, and we trust doctors to diagnose and treat these conditions in a timely manner. Some medical professionals are negligent, and as a result, many patients suffer from vision loss.
Complications in the Eye
There are a number of complications that can impact the eye and your ability to see. The most misdiagnosed conditions are age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and optic neuritis (ON). Both AMD and ON can lead to a loss of eyesight. AMD may even lead to full blindness over time. These two conditions can impact a number of patients. ON will typically impact young women, or people who live in high-altitude areas. AMD, as the name implies, is brought on by age, and will typically begin to impact patients who are 60 or older.
The most important thing to know about ON and AMD is the fact that both can be treated. AMD may require extensive medications, and even laser eye surgery, but the impact of the condition can be slowed with proper treatments. ON, which is an inflammation of the optic nerve, can be treated through medications. However, these treatments rely on a diagnosis, which is where the problems begin.
Seeking a Diagnosis
When you begin to experience concerning symptoms, such as partial vision loss, you will naturally turn to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for help. They are supposed to understand the human eye specifically, and how to treat it. However, these MDs can make disastrous mistakes. You should always seek immediate help if you begin to experience vision troubles, as the loss of eyesight could become permanent if not treated as soon as possible. But what can you do when your doctor is the cause of the delay?
A recent study done by Jama Ophthalmology has found that an alarming one in four cases of AMD was overlooked and misdiagnosed. Many of those patients were told that there was nothing wrong with their eyesight at all. Even worse, it was found that at least 30% of those misdiagnosed would have benefited from treatment, meaning that their eyesight would not have faded as quickly. While AMD cannot be cured, it can be slowed. If AMD is not caught in time, patients can quickly lose their eyesight completely, whereas with treatment, they may only experience a slow deterioration.
According to research done by Dr. Leanne Stunkel, a neuro-ophthalmology specialist, a jaw-dropping 60% of OC cases are misdiagnosed every year. While OC is not as permanent as AMD, allowing the condition to go untreated can lead to serious damage to the patients involved. OC can be treated fairly easily, and patients who receive a proper diagnosis usually experience a full recovery within 6-12 weeks. This is reliant, however, on receiving a proper diagnosis as quickly as possible.
Misdiagnosis and Consequences
For both AMD and OC, and many other conditions that cause vision loss, a misdiagnosis can lead to permanent consequences. Sight is one of the most important senses that we as humans have. It allows us to take in information, communicate, learn, and experience the wonders that this world has to offer. Losing the ability to see, whether that means partial vision loss or full, is an incredibly difficult disability to adjust to. And it is an adjustment you should not have to make.
An optometrist should run every applicable test, check every textbook, and ask all relevant questions. If they fail to provide an adequate diagnosis, and thus accelerate your vision loss, then they need to be held responsible for their actions. If you have suffered vision loss as a result of misdiagnosis, then you need help from a skilled medical malpractice attorney. Call our firm, Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906, to speak to a member of our experienced team.