This review summarizes the recent literature on diagnostic error relevant to the practice of neuro-ophthalmology, and evaluates the potential of increased access to neuro-ophthalmology as a means to decrease rates of diagnostic error, thereby reducing medical harm and spending on unnecessary tests and treatments.
Despite medical advances, current research continues to show alarmingly high rates of diagnostic error. Research into diagnostic error shows that many of these errors are due to cognitive errors. Recent studies on diagnostic problems relevant to neuro-ophthalmology, including studies of misdiagnosis of posterior communicating artery aneurysms, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, optic neuritis, and optic nerve sheath meningiomas, have identified major causes of diagnostic error in these conditions.
Studies on diagnostic error in neuro-ophthalmologic conditions show that prior to evaluation by a neuro-ophthalmologist, patients may undergo unnecessary tests and treatments that are costly and potentially harmful. Further research on diagnostic error will inform better utilization of neuro-ophthalmologists as a resource to decrease diagnostic error.