New research shows that an automated, artificial intelligence (AI) screening system accurately detects diabetic retinopathy 95.5 percent of the time. The system doesn’t require the input of an expert ophthalmologist and it can provide a reading in 60 seconds, making real-time screening possible for primary care practices and diabetes centers.

Accurate, automated screening is an important development for millions of patients living with diabetes who need to be screened yearly for vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

The number of people in the United States with diabetes is exploding. Today, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.

One in four will develop diabetic retinopathy, which has become the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans.

Diabetic retinopathy can develop over time in people with diabetes, especially when they have poor control over their blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye. Sometimes, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels, leaking fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling or edema in an area of the retina that allows us to see clearly. At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology