UMass Medical School and AEYE Health Leverage AI to Help Family Doctors Screen and Refer Patients With Eye Conditions to Specialists

Source: AEYE Health

AEYE Health and UMass Medical School, in collaboration with UMass Memorial Health Care, are developing a system which enables family doctors to screen patients for various retinal conditions and enable timely referrals to specialists.

As part of this effort, AEYE Health’s AI will be incorporated into UMass’s patient treatment protocols to automatically diagnose various retinal and systemic diseases from digital fundus images obtained at primary care clinics.

According to Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD, MHCM, Professor and Chair of UMass Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, “There are multiple eye diseases that can be detected and treated early to prevent vision loss. Therefore, leveraging the power of AI to promote adherence to screening protocols is nothing less than sight saving. Early detection and intervention are crucial in preventing severe vision loss.”

Zack Dvey-Aharon, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of AEYE Health said, “We are excited to work with UMass, with the support of the BIRD Foundation, to create a unique system that makes retinal screening accessible and ensures no patient is left behind.”

Family physicians know that diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of blindness. “Unfortunately, the challenges of managing diabetes can make it difficult for patients to see specialists to screen for problems that the patient doesn’t notice until too late,” James Ledwith, MD, PI and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass, said in a AEYE Health news release. “The use of a compact retinal camera and AEYE Health software in our practice will assure that every patient can be screened during one of their routine visits each year. We anticipate that physicians using this technology are expected to improve screening performance from 30-35% to 80% or more. When one out of four patients with diabetes has retinopathy, primary care screening will result in new vision-saving intervention several times a year.”

The partnership is supported by a BIRD Foundation grant which was announced last July.


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