CHICAGO — Artificial intelligence, deep learning systems and automated diagnostic systems can improve ophthalmologic care for patients and provide help for overburdened ophthalmologists.
At a press conference, Vinay A. Shah, MD, and Robert Chang, MD, presented a condensed version of their artificial intelligence and integration of technology in ophthalmology course material during the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.
With the FDA approval of the first autonomous AI diabetic retinopathy diagnostic system in April, the opportunity now exists for more patients to receive automated screening for diabetic retinopathy at primary care physician offices, Chang said.
“Screening in primary care or endocrine clinics captures those who don’t have the opportunity to see an ophthalmologist or a routine annual diabetic eye exam. ... This may be another easier way for them to do their screening and receive their results right away,” Chang said.
Vinay A. Shah
There is an opportunity to improve efficiency by screening out the 70% of patients who have normal exams, so only the patients with abnormal results can be followed by specialists, he said.
AI will not eliminate the ophthalmologist and take all of the decision-making out of medicine, but it is designed to enhance and increase access for patients and to enable ophthalmologists to see more patients, he said.
Deep learning algorithms can integrate more information from thousands of images that humans may not be able to see and thus find new structural biomarkers for OCT, he said.
“We need more help with the aging population, so obviously as a tool to help overburdened care providers. There is a lot of subjectivity when doctors are analyzing data. These days there has been a data explosion. ... There is a lot of variability when people interpret things. Obviously, if there’s a consensus standard and an algorithm that performs the same every time, as long as it’s not biased, you can reduce some variability,” Chang said.
Shah said smartphone apps can be effective tools for patients to monitor their diseases, find information and even take quality photos of their eyes to send to their physicians.
“In general, use technology for your education and progress, but it does not replace a clinical exam from your physician,” he said. – by Robert Linnehan
: Chang reports no relevant financial disclosures. Shah reports he is the co-founder/owner of Cloud Nine Developments LLC, which has developed several smartphone apps.