A screening tool can automatically detect diabetic retinopathy

For diabetics, eye care should be a primary concern.

According to the National Eye Institute, about 40 to 45 percent of individuals with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy - a condition that can lead to blindness and/or permanent vision impairment.

The problem, however, is that many people with diabetes aren't regularly screened for eye problems, and diabetic retinopathy often doesn't come with symptoms.

A new computer program, however, could make it easier for doctors to spot potential problems. The scientists who created EyeAlert, a patent-pending program, explain that the program can take images of a patient's retina. Based on the results, it will quickly offer a "refer" or "no refer" recommendation for further care.

As good as a doctor visit?

Early tests show the program is as accurate as having a trained specialist screen for the eye disease, a press release on the product stated.

"Diabetic retinopathy, reported as the leading cause of blindness in the adult working-age population, is an eye condition stemming from diabetes that can be successfully treated if diagnosed early," the press release stated. "The computerized tool could help increase the number of annual screenings that take place in the primary care setting."

Research on EyeAlert is being presented this week at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Source: Science Daily

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