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Study finds AMD is often not diagnosed in early stages

Older people in Pennsylvania and around the country may not be properly diagnosed in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a serious problem for people ages 50 and older and is the main cause of vision loss in that age group. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama, one-quarter of the patients in the study who had been told they had normal vision were actually suffering from AMD.

The study examined a total of 644 patients with an average age of 69. An ophthalmologist or optometrist had examined all of them with a dilated eye exam. No advanced cases of AMD were missed, but even though there is no cure for the condition, it is treatable and its progress can be slowed. According to the study, around 30 percent of the people who were not diagnosed would have benefited from treatment with vitamin and mineral supplements. This is the typical treatment for AMD along with injected medications in more severe cases.

AMD affects the ability of the 14 million Americans who have it to read, drive and watch television. Women, people older than 60 and people with a history of sun exposure are among those most at risk. Symptoms include a black spot in the center of a person's vision, blurry vision and straight lines that look wavy.

AMD is one of a number of conditions in which early diagnosis can be important to effective treatment. For some diseases, and dearly diagnosis can be life-saving. A person who is misdiagnosed and who feels it may have been a case of medical malpractice might want to discuss the misdiagnosis with an attorney. Not every misdiagnosis is malpractice, so the attorney would have to demonstrate that the error constituted a failure to exhibit the required standard of care.

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