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In Journal of diabetes science and technology ; h5-index 38.0

BACKGROUND : Portable retinal cameras and deep learning (DL) algorithms are novel tools adopted by diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening programs. Our objective is to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a DL algorithm and the performance of portable handheld retinal cameras in the detection of DR in a large and heterogenous type 2 diabetes population in a real-world, high burden setting.

METHOD : Participants underwent fundus photographs of both eyes with a portable retinal camera (Phelcom Eyer). Classification of DR was performed by human reading and a DL algorithm (PhelcomNet), consisting of a convolutional neural network trained on a dataset of fundus images captured exclusively with the portable device; both methods were compared. We calculated the area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, and specificity for more than mild DR.

RESULTS : A total of 824 individuals with type 2 diabetes were enrolled at Itabuna Diabetes Campaign, a subset of 679 (82.4%) of whom could be fully assessed. The algorithm sensitivity/specificity was 97.8 % (95% CI 96.7-98.9)/61.4 % (95% CI 57.7-65.1); AUC was 0·89. All false negative cases were classified as moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) by human grading.

CONCLUSIONS : The DL algorithm reached a good diagnostic accuracy for more than mild DR in a real-world, high burden setting. The performance of the handheld portable retinal camera was adequate, with over 80% of individuals presenting with images of sufficient quality. Portable devices and artificial intelligence tools may increase coverage of DR screening programs.

Malerbi Fernando Korn, Andrade Rafael Ernane, Morales Paulo Henrique, Stuchi José Augusto, Lencione Diego, de Paulo Jean Vitor, Carvalho Mayana Pereira, Nunes Fabrícia Silva, Rocha Roseanne Montargil, Ferraz Daniel A, Belfort Rubens


Covid-19, artificial intelligence, diabetic retinopathy, mobile healthcare, point-of-care, screening, telemedicine