Meet CSIRO’s Dr. Grader, the AI That May Improve Global Vision
Diabetic retinopathy is a common, and very serious, vision condition associated with diabetes. It can affect sufferers of both Type I and Type II diabetes, and if left untreated, can lead to permanent blindness. A new artificial intelligence, developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, is affectionately dubbed Dr Grader.
The Dangers of Diabetic Retinopathy
As the name suggests, diabetic retinopathy affects the retina, or the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that is responsible for transmitting neural signals to the brain, where they are in turn transformed into images. For obvious reasons, this is a critical part of the organ. Diabetes, however, can cause a breakdown in the blood vessels at the back of the eye, which over time can degrade vision. In addition to being the No. 1 cause of vision loss for diabetics, it is also the leading cause among working-age adults.
Right now, patients who are suspected of having diabetic retinopathy by a general practitioner or optometrist are usually referred to a specialist. Unfortunately, this often takes between weeks and months, and in many cases, diabetic retinopathy can progress very rapidly. That could mean a substantial vision loss in the time during which people are waiting. As there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy – only prevention – this can prove disastrous.
Enter Dr. Grader, a GP’s New Best Friend
Dr. Grader may be able to significantly reduce the number of people who suffer from diabetic retinopathy, or at least to improve the conditions for those who do, by catching the disease earlier. “Patients at risk of this condition would usually be referred to a specialist for screening, waiting six weeks or more. Now it can potentially be done in a single 30-minute visit to a GP,” creator Yogi Kanagasingam told ZDNet.
The machine works by taking high-resolution photos of the eyes, which the AI can then examine for signs of the condition. Instead of requiring hours of time from a busy specialist, the program can now ascertain whether or not the patient should escalate their treatment within the space of a visit to their general practitioner.
Moreover, adds CSIRO, “Some patients referred to public hospitals and specialists for screening may not have the condition, and their referrals can increase wait times for patients who need urgent screening and treatment.” This can help eliminate that, making the process of detecting and responding to diabetic retinopathy faster and more effective than ever before.
Come See a Specialist in Diabetic Complications
Diabetics have to worry about more than eye conditions, of course. Whether you suffer from Type I or Type II diabetes, other potential complications include hearing loss, heart disease, skin conditions and especially foot trouble.
We invite you to visit us at the Foot & Ankle Clinic. We provide custom treatment options to each patient and Dr. Sigal actively recruits for clinical trials to help patients get access to safe and effective medical treatment options. Visit our website or call us today at 213-365-0793 to schedule a consultation.