CERA researchers look to AI to solve diabetic eye disease prevalence

Diabetic retinopathy is a major public health issue globally and in Australia. Nearly all vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is avoidable, however approximately 50% of cases are undiagnosed.


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CERA Research Fellow Dr Stuart Keel, together with CERA Principal Investigator, Professor Mingguang He, want to tackle this issue using artificial intelligence (AI).

“We have developed and validated a novel artificial intelligence-based screening tool to detect referable diabetic retinopathy and other leading causes of vision loss,” says Dr Keel.

“This automated screening system offers the potential to enable screening for major eye diseases to be performed in Australian endocrinology and GP clinics, which will enable more targeted referrals to ophthalmology services across Australia.”

As the 2018 recipient of a prestigious JDRF grant – the leading global organisation funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research – Dr Keel’s work will evaluate the performance of this AI diagnosis system for diabetic retinopathy in a real-world clinical pathway.

Diabetic eye disease affects over 30% of patients with diabetes and is a leading cause of vision loss amongst working aged adults.

“It is clear that continued efforts are required to improve the availability of eye care services and awareness of the importance of regular eye examinations for people with diabetes,” says Dr Keel.

“Tapping into AI technology is a very exciting step in making this happen to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of diabetic retinopathy screening for Australians and across the globe.”

Listen to Dr Keel on More Than Meets The Eye discussing AI technology and diabetes retinopathy with CERA’s Community Engagement Officer, Steve Hurd.


This research was supported by JDRF Australia, the recipient of the Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative in Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.


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