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New study finds AMD prone to misdiagnosis

Age-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of irreversible vision loss among people 50 and older in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. This incurable eye condition is most frequently found in females, those over the age of 60 and farsighted individuals. A history of sunlight exposure as well as genetic factors can also increase the risk.

Unfortunately, the condition is also frequently misdiagnosed. This is according to a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham looked at 644 patients who were previously examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist via dilated eye exam. They found that 25 percent of those patients had undetected signs of AMD. The patients' average age was 69.

Among those with undetected AMD, 30 percent could have benefited from treatments to slow the progressions. Thankfully, however, no advanced form of the disease was found. The authors still emphasized the need for accurate diagnoses as the baby boomer generation ages.

Approximately 14 million Americans are affected by AMD. Its symptoms include blurry eyesight, dark spots and the illusion that straight lines are wavy or kinked. With AMD, everyday activities like reading and watching TV become difficult.

A misdiagnosis could be a form of medical malpractice. Therefore, patients who suffer from the progression of misdiagnosed AMD that could have been prevented might be eligible for compensation. Hiring a lawyer is important. Lawyers in the field of malpractice law can start by requesting an inquiry with the local medical board. After estimating a fair settlement, legal counsel can begin the negotiation phase or proceed to litigation.

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