Artificial Intelligence and eye care

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This blog has been contributed by Dr. Ammar Safar, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon and Chief Medical Officer.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised various industries, and it’s making its way into ophthalmology. AI technologies are being viewed as valuable tools for diagnosing, managing, and treating eye diseases.

AI algorithms can analyse large amounts of data in a short time, making it easier to identify and treat eye conditions. One of the most significant applications of AI in ophthalmology is in detecting and diagnosing retinal diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults. It is unfortunately very prevalent in our part of the world with a large number of patients affected. However, with the help of AI, ophthalmologists can now detect the disease early and provide timely treatment. AI-powered retinal imaging systems can analyse a large number of retinal images for early signs of the disease with an outstanding level of accuracy, providing ophthalmologists with a more accurate diagnosis and making it next to impossible to delay or miss a diagnosis.

Age-related macular degeneration is another eye condition that can lead to vision loss. AI algorithms can analyse the retina’s images to detect signs of the disease and track its progression, enabling ophthalmologists to provide appropriate treatment.

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. AI technologies can detect the disease in its early stages, allowing for early intervention to prevent further vision loss. AI algorithms can analyse visual field tests, imaging tests, and other data and compare them to previous tests detecting even the very minute variations providing a very powerful tool to determine the likelihood of developing glaucoma and its progression.

AI can also assist ophthalmologists in the management of cataracts, which is a common cause of vision loss in older adults. AI algorithms can analyse patient data, including medical history, to determine the appropriate surgical approach and intraocular lens power.

AI technology has the potential to revolutionise ophthalmology, enabling ophthalmologists to provide more accurate diagnoses and personalised treatment plans. While AI cannot replace human expertise, it can significantly enhance it, providing ophthalmologists with a powerful tool to improve patient care.

In conclusion, AI can transform ophthalmology by improving the diagnosis, management, and treatment of eye diseases. As technology advances, AI will undoubtedly become an increasingly essential tool for ophthalmologists.