Research finds common eye condition may be misdiagnosed

Medical malpractice does not always happen when a case is complicated or rare. One study examined the most common malpractice suits filed against eye doctors in Texas and around the country and found that there has been an increase in malpractice suits associated with a very common occurrence known as retinal detachment.

What the study found

The research done by the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company examined 1,613 claims over a seven-year period. It found that diagnostic error was a factor in 223 of those case. The portion of the eye known as the retina was involved in 84 cases, and 65 of those cases involved retinal detachment. Treatment is more likely to be successful when a retinal detachment is detected early, so a correct diagnosis is important. The study found misdiagnoses despite the fact that in 85% of the cases, the patients had some of the risk factors for the condition.

Risk factors

Those risk factors include having the eye condition known as myopia, having cataract surgery and suffering some sort of trauma to the eye. Young men are more likely to suffer a retinal detachment after cataract surgery. In the case of trauma, the retinal detachment could happen years after the injury. Some children may be more likely to have a retinal detachment if they are born with certain conditions, such as Stickler’s syndrome.

Preventing a misdiagnosis

The study also identified factors that could increase the risk of a misdiagnosis. A staff that communicates clearly to one another about any issues noticed is important. How the staff treats patients also matters since patients who feel they have been treated rudely might not return for follow up care. Risk factors and symptoms need to be clearly explained to patients, and physicians need to avoid distractions when they are doing examinations. People who feel that they or their loved ones have been harmed as a result of a misdiagnosis may want to contact an attorney to discuss how to proceed.