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Optic neuritis commonly misdiagnosed, says study

A medical condition called optic neuritis is misdiagnosed at high rates, according to the results of a study of patients referred for treatment from 2014 to 2016. Pennsylvania residents who suffer from medical conditions should be aware of the risks associated with misdiagnoses and the frequency at which they occur. The study in question was of patients at a university clinic in the Midwest, each of whom had been referred for treatment of optic neuritis.

Of the 122 patients whose data was examined, only 49 of them were found to actually have optic neuritis, compared with 73 who got different diagnoses. The study indicated that the most common error leading to a misdiagnosis was a failure to properly consider important parts of the patient’s history. In some of the cases studied, the misdiagnosis was due in part to the patient having multiple sclerosis, which is frequently associated with optic neuritis.

Another common type of medical error was the failure by health care professionals to consider other possible diagnoses, like nonarteritic optic neuropathy, functional loss of vision, headaches, migraines or neuroretinitis. A third cause of misdiagnosis was the discounting or misinterpretation of eye exam and MRI findings. The authors of the study said they were concerned about the rate of overdiagnosis of the condition.

Misdiagnoses and other medical errors can result in serious consequences to patients and their family members. People who have been harmed as a result might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what options that might be available for seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.

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