Equipping a smartphone to capture retinal images and using artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret these can help overcome obstacles to eye screening for people with diabetes, says the study. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a condition that can lead to permanent loss of vision if it is not detected in time.
At the 2019 Vision and Ophthalmology Research Association annual meeting, Kellogg Eye Center researchers found that by combining a smartphone-connected device that uses high-quality retina images with AI software, it can offer a solution for better screening for diabetic retinopathy.
"The key to preventing DR-related vision loss is early detection through regular screening," said Yannis Paulus, senior researcher and assistant professor at the University of Michigan. According to Paulus, also a vitreoretinal surgeon at the Kellogg Eye Center, "the key is to bring a portable, easy-to-manage, reliable retinal examination to primary care clinics and health clinics." Paul was part of the Kellogg team who developed a device that turns the smartphone into a working retina camera.
The team used the latest generation of a smartphone-based platform called RetinaScope. "This is the first time it has turned out that AI used on a smartphone-based platform is effective compared to the gold standard of clinical trials," said Paulus.