Those in Massachusetts who regularly see an ophthalmologist may be interested in some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in the profession. Retinal conditions and retinal detachment top the list of malpractice claims of misdiagnosed ophthalmic conditions.

A study by the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company found that of 1,613 malpractice claims from 2007 to 2014, 223 involved diagnostic errors. Of the diagnostic errors, 29% involved retinal detachment and 38% involved the retina. This is a major concern because successful treatment of retinal detachment relies on a quick diagnosis. When the condition is misdiagnosed, patients may suffer permanent eye damage.

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina detaches from the remaining eye tissue. The condition is serious and considered an emergency. If diagnosed in time, emergency surgery can be used to re-attach the retina and save the patient’s vision. Left untreated, the retina is left without blood and nutrients. Doctors must be well-versed in diagnosing the condition to prevent misdiagnosis from occurring. Patients who are at risk of retinal detachment, such as those with eye injuries or previous cataract surgery, need to be aware of the symptoms. If retinal detachment is suspected, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist immediately.

Because of the time-sensitive nature of retinal detachment surgery, the condition must be diagnosed immediately. A doctor who brushes aside the concerns of their patient or doesn’t use the right diagnostic tools may misdiagnose the condition. This could result in partial vision loss, blindness or macular degeneration. Those who have suffered complications because of misdiagnosis may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against their medical practitioner. If the doctor acted negligently, the patient may be entitled to medical and compensatory damages. A medical malpractice lawyer might listen to the details of the case and file a claim on behalf of the patient.