20/20NOW, the pioneer and innovator of Ocular Telehealth, recently announced their use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) to allow for the early detection of retinal disease, such as diabetic retinopathy.
Through the use of FDA approved equipment and software, retinal images are immediately enhanced using the AI program, allowing optometrists to diagnose with more confidence conditions that affect the retina. With traditional testing, some retinopathy may go undetected in its early stages. Given the widespread epidemic of diabetes, optometrists who work with 20/20NOW’s Ocular Telehealth System are now able to utilize this cutting-edge technology to identify diabetic retinopathy and refer patients for treatment, which ultimately can prevent blindness and other health complications.
According to the world health organization, the world is experiencing a growing epidemic of diabetes. In the U.S. alone, 1 out of 11 Americans have been diagnosed with the disease, but more concerning, 1 out of 3 Americans have pre-diabetes and most of them don’t know it.
Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of blindness in the United States, causing 12,000–24,000 new cases each year. Shockingly, only about half of persons with type 2 diabetes on average received an annual eye examination.
A number of factors suggest that emerging telemedicine ocular screenings with appropriate referral represents a cost-effective solution to increase access to eye care. The combination of AI and fundus imaging within telehealth eye exams can now provide both increased access to care and earlier detection of diabetic retinopathy to prevent unnecessary vision loss.
20/20NOW’s Subject Matter Advisor, Bryan M. Rogoff, OD, MBA, CPHM, shared, “While other technology advancements are being used to bypass eye care providers, 20/20NOW is working with optometrists by providing the best tools to diagnose refractive and ocular medical conditions. By also providing optometrists with artificial intelligence to enhance retinal images, they’re able to diagnose with more confidence during a telehealth examination. This is just one example of 20/20NOW’s advancement within Ocular Telehealth exams.
Keeping the clinical assessment and control with the optometrist is paramount for patients, providers and payers. This strategy increases the sensitivity and efficacy of the exams, which ultimately lower healthcare costs.