Sunday, March 27, 2011

Screening for Eye Diseases

The National Eye Institute awarded a grant to VisionQuest Biomedical in Albuquerque New Mexico to study how to implement computer-assisted technology to screen for eye diseases. According to CDC, millions of people in the U.S. have some form of eye disease, with 20 million diabetics at risk for retinopathy, 60 million at risk for glaucoma, plus an additional 13 million are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration.

The goal is to create an affordable and accessible solution in order to provide a comprehensive screening program. Today, people go to ophthalmologists, optometrists, or other trained specialists, but for each professional to grade each case for each person is prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

The solution is to implement a computer-assisted technology similar to other medical applications, such as mammograms and Pap smears that would provide comprehensive periodic screenings for the at-risk population. Eventually, the hope is to implement an automatic eye disease screening system to be made available at centers across the U.S and globally.

To conduct the research, a screening center in South Texas where nearly 200,000 diabetics reside and over 50 percent do not receive annual examinations will document the efficacy of the software. The Center’s plan is to show how many cases screened per time period solely use automation and human screeners and compare this approach to solely human-based screening.

The initial year for the start of the project was 2010 and research will continue until 2013 for the grant RC3EY020749-01. For more information on the technology or project, email VisionQuest Biomedical at Peter Soliz, at or call (505) 508-1994.