Optos, a Fife based company and a world-leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced retinal imaging technology, has been awarded NHS funding to accelerate the implementation and validation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support the early detection of Diabetes related eye-disease into NHS Diabetic Eye Screening practices.
The technology uses a machine learning algorithm to analyse images of the retina to identify the presence or extent of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) or Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO). The device then produces a report in around one minute, advising if the patient needs referral to an eye care specialist. The NHS leads the way in screening for diabetic eye disease, the implementation of AI into this system has the potential to enhance this even further.
The Fife-based company won the Artificial Intelligence Award run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research. The Award supports technologies across the spectrum of development from initial feasibility to evaluation within the NHS.
The award is part of the £140million of funding that is being made available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies that meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Optos will use the award to fund a clinical study exploring if automated grading is clinically and cost effective for the NHS’ Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP).
Moorfields Eye Hospital, researchers from Queens University Belfast, and InHealth, a software provider of information management solutions for UK health organisations, will work with Optos to share resources and support the study.
Dr Luke Nicholson and Professor Sobha Sivarsapad, consultant ophthalmologists at Moorfields Eye Hospital, both have vast experience in the management of DR and in leading research in this field. They are working closely with Optos to explore how the AI will enhance the ability to screen a wider population with greater consistency and speed, as well as potentially delivering cost savings to the NHS
Professor Tunde Peto is Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at Queens University Belfast and Clinical Lead for Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Northern Ireland. She has extensively studied diabetes complications and established diabetic retinopathy screening and training programmes internationally. She has worked closely with Optos and their collaborators on the research, development and training of Artificial Intelligence for DR.
InHealth currently provides DESP services to 11 NHS England programmes with 1.1million patients under its care. InHealth will use its expertise and own software, Spectra, to support the integration of the AI into screening services at a larger scale.
Phil Kirby, Managing Director of InHealth Intelligence, said: “I am delighted to be working with Optos Plc, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Queens University Belfast on this important initiative.”
Rob Kennedy, Optos CEO, said: “Being selected for this award is a huge achievement for all the team. We look forward to working closely with Moorfields Eye Hospital, Queens University Belfast and InHealth to undertake this very important study.”
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For further information about Optos, please visit https://www.optos.com/en-gb/
Notes to editors
• Optos was founded 27 years ago by Douglas Anderson. Douglas developed the ground-breaking optomap® retinal imaging technology following his five-year old son losing his eyesight in one eye due to a retinal detachment.
• Today, more than 127 million patients have benefited from the Optos retinal imaging devices which produces ultra-widefield images of the retina in a single capture.
• The company, which is now owned by Nikon, has sold over 17,000 optomap devices worldwide