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Diabetic retinopathy testing to move from specialists to GPs after successful Perth trial

Date posted: 20 September 2017

New artificial intelligence-driven technology has been used to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy in just seconds at a GP clinic, without the need for an ophthalmologist.

The world-first technique, developed through the CSIRO, will make it easier to detect the cause of blindness in Australians living with diabetes.

CSIRO Professor Yogi Kanagasingam, said it was not possible for eye specialists to keep up with the growing numbers of diabetics. Professor Kanagasingam said a diagnosis was generated quickly using the new technology.

'Somebody takes photos of the retina and then the photos will be analysed by the artificial intelligence system, and then within 30 seconds it will give a reply back to whether or not the patient has to be referred. It will also tell what kind of disease grading, [whether] mild, moderate or severe' Professor Kanagasingam said.

Diabetic retinopathy affects one in three people living with diabetes, and it can lead to blindness. Professor Kanagasingam said the new screening technology streamlined health and preventative services.

'Usually if a diabetic is at risk of the condition, their GP will refer them to a specialist to have their eyes tested. We are bringing it to the primary service level ... only thing they [GPs] don't do is eye screening ... but now you are getting the care on the spot' Professor Kanagasingam said.

The technology will be rolled out to 20 clinics in Western Australia in the next few months before expanding across the country.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 22 September 2017
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