The hidden dangers of papilloedema

30 April 2020
Spring 2020

Papilloedema in its early stages isn’t always easy to spot – and the consequences of getting it wrong can be catastrophic. Steve Smethurst asks: how should optometrists approach diagnosis and referral?

In 2016, Honey Rose, an Ipswich optometrist, was handed a two-year suspended sentence for gross negligence manslaughter for a failure to spot papilloedema. An appeal court later quashed the conviction, but the journal Nature reported an increased awareness of disc pathology, a rise in referrals from community optometrists and a spike in neuroimaging requests in the aftermath (Poostchi et al, 2018). 

“It’s certainly a condition that optometrists worry about seeing in practice,” says Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for the College. “I’ve only seen five or six cases in 15 years, which I suspect is broadly typical.”

Sign in to continue

Forgotten password?

Not already a member of The College?

Start enjoying the benefits of College membership today. Take a look at what the College can offer you and view our membership categories and rates.

Related further reading

Following the announcement by the Secretary for Health that the isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 will be cut to five full days in England, NHSE has confirmed this will apply in primary care settings.

UKHSA confirms that changes to the self-isolation period following Covid exposure applies to healthcare workers

The College issues advice following the Prime Minister's announced that the UK would return to COVID Alert Level 4.