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Misdiagnosis of Glaucoma

Misdiagnosis of Glaucoma

Symptoms of glaucoma can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, migraine headache, uveitis, and stroke.

In addition, because most people have no symptoms of chronic open-angle glaucoma in the early stages, a diagnosis is easy to miss or delay. Because chronic open-angle glaucoma can be treated to prevent serious complications, such as blindness, it is important to seek regular eye care, so that can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible....more about Glaucoma »

Alternative diagnoses list for Glaucoma:

For a diagnosis of Glaucoma, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Glaucoma:

Diseases for which Glaucoma may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Glaucoma is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Glaucoma: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Glaucoma may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Glaucoma:

Glaucoma: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Glaucoma

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less severe possibilities. Some level of memory decline is normal with aging, and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's. Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness. For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly harmless. see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50. See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Glaucoma: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Glaucoma

Failure to diagnose Glaucoma may be associated with the following:

  • Glaucoma in infants (glaucoma) is harder to diagnose as infants are unable to bring attention to the problem. Usually the first sign is intolerance to light which may be initially overlooked by the parent. Even young children often have a delayed diagnosis of glaucoma because neither the parent or child are aware that there are vision problems as these problems are usually picked up once a child starts reading. Clumsiness due to glaucoma may be overlooked by parents
  • Patients often don't notice the gradual changes in vision associated with early glaucoma which means the condition is often undiagnosed until more severe and permanent eye damage has occurred. Detection of glaucoma in the early stage usually prevents permanent vision damage
  • Some cases of acute angle closure glaucoma are asymptomatic which leads to a delayed diagnosis and treatment which leads to a poorer visual prognosis
  • Irritability and feeding problems in infants may be dismissed by parents as a phase or that the infant will get through without medical intervention. If medical advice is sought, the symptoms may be misdiagnosed as a myriad of possible conditions such as colic or a viral or bacterial infection
  • Elderly people are particularly at risk of undiagnosed glaucoma as they often fail to have regular eye checks. Their failing vision may be dismissed simply as the normal processes of aging
  • Patients with illnesses such as dementia are particularly prone to under-diagnosis as they are unable to relay their symptoms and may only exhibit what appears to be increased confusion
  • Patients who only have glaucoma in one eye may not notice a vision reduction because the other eye compensates. They will even deny vision impairment when questioned by a doctor so it is important to actually test the vision in individual eyes

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Glaucoma

The following may be hidden causes of Glaucoma:

  • A congenital malformation of the eye structure may be the underlying cause of glaucoma in newborns or infants (congenital glaucoma)
  • Risk factors for developing glaucoma include: age, hereditary factors, intraocular pressure, myopia, hyperopia, eye trauma, steroid use, systemic disease (vascular and inflammatory conditions), diabetes and race. Eskimos, Asians and Arabs are more prone to angle closure glaucoma whereas black populations are more prone to open angle glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma may occur in patients who have conditions such as Sturge-Weber syndrome, neurofibromatosis and Reiger's syndrome
  • There is an extensive range of drug interactions which may be the underlying cause of glaucoma. Thus, it is vital that patients inform their health physician of all the prescribed, over-the-counter and naturopathic medications that they are taking

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Glaucoma

Wrong diagnosis of Glaucoma may be associated with the following:

  • Patients presenting with vomiting and nausea may be misdiagnosed as having a gastrointestinal complaint. Sometimes there is no associated headache or eye pain which makes diagnosis more difficult
  • Headaches caused by glaucoma may be misdiagnosed as migraines - especially in patients who have a history of migraines. Subacute glaucoma may present only with pain on one side of the head similar to a headache. The lack of other symptoms such as actual eye pain or noticeable vision reduction may lead to an initial misdiagnosis of migraine headache.
  • Underlying causes of secondary glaucoma include eye injury, inflammation (uveitis), steroid use, hemorrhage in the eye, tumors inside the eye and retinal ischemia
  • Patients with acute glaucoma may present without the typical features (severe eye pain, nausea, vomiting and sudden vision reduction) of the condition which may lead to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. For example, a patient may present simply with a red eye and they patient may be uncertain of any vision impairment
  • If the pain due to acute glaucoma tends to be in the brow area rather than the eye itself, the patients may be misdiagnosed as having migraine, temporal arteritis. If vomiting is also present, sub-arachnoid hemorrhage may even be diagnosed
  • Eye pain and redness due to glaucoma may be misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, iritis or corneal abrasion
  • The early stages of glaucoma may cause symptoms such as mild inflammation of the conjunctiva, light sensitivity, eye tearing and pain. These symptoms mimic those of conjunctivitis with which it is commonly misdiagnosed. Often the health physician treats the patient for conjunctivitis without even considering glaucoma as a possible cause. The patient my then report a lack of response to the conjunctivitis treatment which may then alert the physician to possible glaucoma
  • A form of glaucoma called normal tension glaucoma is often misdiagnosed as the intraocular pressure is normal but vision damage may still occur

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Glaucoma:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Glaucoma:

Misdiagnosis and Glaucoma deaths

Glaucoma is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Glaucoma or confirming a diagnosis of Glaucoma, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Glaucoma may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Glaucoma. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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