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Smart-phones detect Diabetic Retinopathy with 98% specificity

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 Deepika Rana
Use of AI for retinal imaging fits well in trend of tele-medicine to reach the remote under-served parts of the country.

The Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), Chennai, has conducted a study to capture retinal photographs of diabetics using ‘Remidio Fundus on Phone’.

Remidio Fundus on Phone is a smart phone based imaging device that has been validated by ophthalmologists to provide 92 percent sensitivity and 98 percent specificity for detecting Diabetic Retinopathy.

Till now only trained ophthalmologists and retina specialists used to examine the back of the eye (retina) by retinal colour photography taken with expensive retinal cameras. Smartphone based retinal imaging has emerged as a cost-effective way to screen for retinopathy. With recent developments, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now able to grade retinal images of diabetic people and determine which patients have retinopathy or sight-threatening retinopathy.

The study, published in the journal ‘Eye’ (Springer ‘Nature’) by Dr R Rajalakshmi, Senior Opthalmologist, MDRF, showed that use of AI has high sensitivity for detecting retinopathy (95.8%) and sight threatening diabetic retinopathy (99.1%). The study included grading of retinal photos by the retina specialists and Automated AI EyeArt™ for detection and classification of retinopathy.

Dr V Mohan, Director, MDRF said that one-fifth of diabetic patients are at a risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Smartphone based retinal imaging would reduce the burden of health systems in screening for sight threatening retinopathy. Use of AI for retinal imaging fits well in trend of telemedicine to reach the remote underserved parts of the country.

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