When it comes to the optic health of Kentucky residents, proper diagnosis of optic neuritis is a major issue. Optic neuritis, which is the inflammation of the optic nerve, can lead to pain and temporary vision loss in one or both eyes. But while optic neuritis remains a serious health issue, a new study suggests that over half of those diagnosed with the condition may have been misdiagnosed.

In a study conducted by an American university of medical records collected between 2014 and 2016, researchers discovered a surprisingly high rate of misdiagnosis related to optic neuritis. Of the 122 patients studied, only 49 were correctly diagnosed with optic neuritis. The remaining 73 patients who were originally diagnosed with optic neuritis were actually suffering from something else.

Many of the issues attributed to optic neuritis were caused by the doctor’s failure to thoroughly review the patient’s prior history. Several patients involved in the study had multiple sclerosis, which is often related to optic neuritis. Doctors also seemed to limit themselves in their diagnoses, often failing to consider alternative causes like migraines, vision loss or even neuroretinitis.

The problems with misdiagnosis are obvious. In addition to the wasted time and cost of receiving treatment unrelated to their illness, patients also risk being injured by unnecessary procedures. The research showed that 16 percent of misdiagnosed patients received an unnecessary lumbar puncture while an additional 11 percent were given intravenous steroids.

Chronic misdiagnosis like this can lead to widespread health issues for the patients involved. When a patient is misdiagnosed, they face the risk of receiving treatment that is not only unnecessary but also potentially harmful. If that patient is medically harmed due to the misdiagnosis, a medical malpractice attorney could help them recover damages related to their injuries.