Up to 25 percent of age-related macular degeneration cases may have been missed by eye care professionals according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. This condition largely impacts Kentucky residents and other Americans who are age 50 and older. Those who have it could lose their vision permanently. To obtain the data for the survey, researchers from the University of Alabama took a second look at 664 patients who had an average age of 69.

These patients had all had a dilated eye exam performed by a ophthalmologist or optometrist. Currently, 14 million Americans deal with the impact of AMD, and it is believed that the number will increase as the population gets progressively older. This is why researchers believe that it is important to understand how often the condition is misdiagnosed. Those who have AMD could have trouble reading, driving or performing other tasks.

Properly diagnosing a patient could make it possible to slow down the progression of symptoms. To reduce the number of misdiagnosed cases, patients are urged to understand the risk factors associated with it. Individuals who are over the age of 60, are female or who smoke are generally more likely to get AMD. A person who has been exposed to high amounts of sunlight could also be more likely to be impacted.

If a failure to diagnose a condition leads to a person going blind or experiencing further complications, it may be grounds for a medical malpractice suit. An attorney may review the case to determine if malpractice occurred. If it did, an individual could be entitled to current and future medical bills incurred, lost wages and lost future earnings. Parties besides the medical professional who made the error in diagnosing a patient could also be held liable.