Patients in North Carolina and elsewhere should be aware that many retinal diseases mimic age-related wet macular degeneration, or AMD. If you are misdiagnosed, there could be severe consequences.
What is an AMD mimicker?
An AMD mimicker is a retinal disease that presents itself in a way that resembles age-related macular degeneration. Diseases that mimic wet AMD include Best disease, basal laminar drusen, polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, chronic central serous chorioretinopathy and vitelliform lesion.
How do I prevent misdiagnosis?
Ask your doctor plenty of questions. Make sure that you understand their plan for treatment moving forward. What does the treatment entail? What should be your response to the treatment? If the treatment does not produce the expected results, what are the next steps? Are there any other tests that can be done either before or during treatment that could rule out an AMD mimicker?
Being an informed patient is one of the best defenses you have against misdiagnosis and improper medical treatment of any kind. You are your best advocate, and any doctor who is unwilling to address your concerns is not the right doctor.
What happens if I am treated for AMD in error?
Standard treatment for wet AMD, if not present, will result in further loss of vision. This is why your ophthalmologist must diagnose your retinal disease appropriately in the first place. Treatment for wet AMD does not resolve the problems manifested by any of the AMD mimickers.
If your doctor’s failure to diagnose has resulted in significant harm to you or a family member, it may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.