The Australian developed artificial intelligence platform, known as Eyetelligence Workstation, launched earlier this year, is now making inroads in optometry with experienced optometrist and Deakin University clinical supervisor Dirk den Dulk, offering absolute endorsement of its value in practice.
Mr den Dulk, who has practised for 42 years and is the principal optometrist with George and Matilda at Albion Park, New South Wales, says Eyetelligence Assure enhances accuracy in clinical examinations and significantly helps when communicating with the patient, their GP and ophthalmologist, and other staff.
“Until now, we’ve had artificial intelligence (AI) in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and visual fields, but not in fundus imaging – so this is really exciting,” he said, adding that the reports generated for patients make it easier to explain eye disease and any requirement for further clinical testing or referral.
“It’s great to have something we can show patients – not just images, but also written information and colour coded grading of results – all of this helps me validate my recommendation. I tell patients that the platform has been trained with 200,000 images; I show them what a disease-free eye looks like compared to theirs; and they are more able to understand why they might, for instance need to come back in six months, or pay to see an ophthalmologist.”
Mr den Dulk said the clinical reports also help when communicating with a GP or ophthalmologist. “I can now send the clinical report with a covering letter attached and the recipient knows that the diagnosis I’ve made is not just my opinion, it has been validated by AI.”
INVALUABLE TRAINING TOOL
Mr den Dulk said Eyetelligence Assure has become a valuable teaching aid for the Deakin University students he has on placement. “We can look at a patient’s images and discuss what we’re seeing and then compare our analysis with that of the AI. When it comes to looking at borderline cases, students begin to realise that even experts can have a difference of opinion… we’re only human and the AI can only be as good as the humans that train it. Having said that, 95% accuracy is impressive and it’s only going to get better as the database behind the platform continues to grow.”
He said his practice uses Eidon and Maestro cameras to take fundus images of every patient (unless it’s not possible to do so) then uses Eyetelligence Assure to analyse the images.
“Eyetelligence Assure doesn’t take over the clinical assessment, but it certainly aids it and that’s great because care of the patient is paramount – the more we can do to assist clinicians in caring for patients, the better. And this is where AI is so exciting – examining patients for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration is not as hit and miss as it once was, regardless of practitioner experience.
“I absolutely endorse Eyetelligence Assure and the Eyetelligence team – they have been so supportive and helpful and I believe their platform is going to really help us make a difference to patient outcomes.”
Eyetelligence is available to try free of charge for 30 days and is available via monthly subscription, based on the number of cameras in the practice.