August 2020


Artificial intelligence

by Eric Donnenfeld, MD Chief Medical Editor

Eric Donnenfeld, MD
Chief Medical Editor

“AI offers significant promise to the field of ophthalmology with its ability to analyze enormous datasets using neural networks.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) was first named in 1956 but has become more important over the last few years thanks to increased data analysis, advanced algorithms, and improvements in computing power and storage. AI is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. We use AI everyday with our computer programs such as Siri and Alexa.
AI offers significant promise to the field of ophthalmology with its ability to analyze enormous datasets using neural networks. This analysis was not possible several years ago, but advanced technology now makes data analysis with AI possible. In fact, the more data you provide for evaluation by AI, the more accurate the results become.
In this issue of EyeWorld, we look at how AI is revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of such diverse fields as cornea, cataract surgery, glaucoma, and retina.
Renato Ambrosio Jr., MD, PhD, and David Wallace, MD, explore the role of AI in predicting ectasia using smart software to provide better outcomes and safety with refractive corneal surgery. In addition, the earliest diagnosis of keratoconus with AI can help predict which patients will benefit from riboflavin UV crosslinking to stop the development of keratoconus before it can be diagnosed by traditional methods.
Cataract surgery is the most common operation performed in the U.S. Patient expectations are extraordinarily high and AI using enormous datasets offers the promise of improving surgical outcomes to LASIK-like accuracy. In fact, AI is currently being employed with several power calculation formulas. Kerry Solomon, MD, and Warren Hill, MD, who was the first to use AI in IOL calculation with the Hill-RBF formula, look at how AI can improve IOL choice and power calculations.
Ranya Habash, MD, and Valerie Trubnik, MD, provide insights into the opportunities for AI in glaucoma. The multifactorial nature of glaucoma and the large datasets make this specialty ideal for improving outcomes with AI. Visual fields, OCT images, and fundus photos can provide huge volumes of information that can be correlated with the use of powerful AI computers.
Finally, Allen Ho, MD, Anthony Joseph, MD, Jennifer Lim, MD, and Glenn Stoller, MD, share how AI is changing the world of retina. The most common retinal diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, and vein occlusion, will all benefit from machine learning to help monitor and treat these disorders.
I think AI is the future of our profession and will give ophthalmologists the information and resources that the best subspecialists could never accumulate in an entire career. Data-driven decision making offers the promise of better outcomes for our patients. Enjoy reading this issue of EyeWorld to see where our profession is going.

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