Perspective from Brad Sutton, OD, FAAO
Disclosures: Devalla reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
January 15, 2021
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Greater use of AI may lead to advances in glaucoma research

Perspective from Brad Sutton, OD, FAAO
Disclosures: Devalla reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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A partnership between artificial intelligence systems and clinicians may lead to mutual advancements in glaucoma research and clinical practice, according to a review published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

“Given that glaucomatous changes to the optic nerve head tissues are irreversible, timely and reliable structural and functional evaluation of the eye could help in the early diagnosis of glaucoma,” Sripad Krishna Devalla, PhD, department of biomedical engineering at the national University of Singapore, and colleagues wrote. “In recent years, AI-based systems have started to revolutionize the health care industry. ... A number of AI studies have been proposed for the diagnosis and management of glaucoma based on the interpretation of functional and/or structural information of the eye.”

In a review summarizing the role of AI in glaucoma, researchers reported that modern systems have successfully increased the speed and diagnostic power of ocular imaging modalities through data collation, abnormality detection and referral relevance. Further, AI has the potential to reduce the workload for clinicians while minimizing diagnostic errors and cost.

While the many benefits of AI allude to a need for broader use, many challenges in its clinical translation still exist due to the subjective nature of technology and the quality of training data. Researchers further note the AI requirements for clinical acceptance are indefinite, which poses an issue for regulatory approval. Further clinical studies comparing AI to traditional diagnostic methods are needed to better understand its capabilities.

“Clinicians in the future may expect a plethora of AI tools to assist them in the day-to-day diagnosis and management of glaucoma,” Devalla and colleagues concluded. “While the persistence of new clinical and technical challenges is undeniable, one cannot dismiss the ways in which AI could positively impact ophthalmic research and clinical practice in glaucoma.”