Idx-DR, the AI that can now make medical diagnoses

Its name: Idx-DR. This innovative artificial intelligence is able to diagnose diabetic retinopathy with 90% effectiveness.

The future is now. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the green light to the marketing, in the United States, of an artificial intelligence machine capable of diagnosing diabetic retinopathy… without the intervention of a doctor.

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye disease that affects 50% of patients with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, excess sugar in the blood weakens the wall of the ocular capillaries, which can lead to the bursting of blood vessels. Without treatment, the risk of blindness is very high.

Called IDx-DR, this innovative software is able to detect the disease by taking very precise photos of the patient’s retina. With artificial intelligence, IDx-DR does not just take the photos: it analyzes them to establish a diagnosis in full autonomy.

“IDx-DR is the first device approved for marketing that provides a screening decision without a clinician’s interpretation of the image or results, making it usable by healthcare professionals who are not normally involved in the process of eye care,” the FDA said in its statement.

The FDA clearance is based on a clinical study of 900 diabetic patients. In nearly 90% of cases, the IDx-DR has made the correct diagnosis whether or not the patient has diabetic retinopathy. In contrast, health authorities say that the artificial intelligence will not be used on patients who have received laser treatment, pregnant women or patients with persistent vision loss.

Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.