AI Software Effective for Detecting Diabetic Retinopathy

Digital health company AEYE Health was founded on the desire to provide fully automated, artificial intelligence (AI) based diagnostic screening tools for retinal imaging. According to the Ophthalmology Times, the company has more recently finished a clinical trial evaluating one of its AI tools for the detection of mild-to-moderate diabetic retinopathy. 

This type of detection is crucial; an estimated 420 million people globally are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Thus, AI detection can help with early diagnosis and treatment. Ultimately, this could help people preserve their vision.

Within this particular study, researchers evaluated AI software as a diagnostic tool. To begin, researchers first took a single image of each person’s eye using either a Topcon NW-400 camera or an Optomed Aurora camera. Next, researchers ran these images through the AI software. Researchers found that both camera options had high sensitivity (93% and 91.9% respectively) and specificity (91.4% and 93.6% respectively). 

With this level of sensitivity, specificity, and ease in detection, this AI software does have the potential to help those with diabetes who are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Further, the ease of taking and analyzing these images may help spur healthcare professionals into upholding or adhering to screening protocols.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, or diabetic eye disease, is a diabetes-related complication which can cause vision loss or, in severe cases, blindness. In those with diabetes, high levels of sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels may swell, leak, or block blood from passing through. As these leaks, bleeds, and blockages continue, the retina becomes progressively damaged. Those who have had diabetes for a long time, or those who have diabetes and are also pregnant, have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms, which worsen as the condition progresses, include:

  • Difficulty reading or seeing far away objects
  • Dark spots or streaks in one’s vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Partial vision loss
  • Retinal detachment (complication)
  • Neovascular glaucoma (complication)
  • Diabetic macular edema (complication) 
  • Complete blindness

Learn more about diabetic retinopathy.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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