Science and Technology

Innovative eye screening system aims to prevent blindness


The University of Notre Dame Australia is pioneering a groundbreaking digital eye screening system equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) to combat preventable eye diseases that could lead to blindness.

Unlike traditional bulky and expensive equipment used for eye tests, this compact system fits inside a small briefcase, making it ideal for remote and regional areas where access to eye specialists and advanced screening tools is limited.

UNDA’s Chair of Digital Health and Telemedicine, Professor Yogi Kanagasingam, highlights the system’s portability and the AI’s role in streamlining the screening process.

“Effectively, the AI acts as the system’s brain, scanning digital images of a patient’s eye for any evidence of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts or age-related macular degeneration – all of which are treatable if we can identify them early enough,” Professor Kanagasingam explains.

He emphasises that if the system identifies any issues, patients can be referred to specialists for further evaluation and appropriate intervention.

“While there is an obvious need for this sort of technology here in Australia, it would also be hugely beneficial in developing countries such as India, which is home to about 25 per cent of the world’s blind population,” Professor Kanagasingam adds.

Parts of this innovative eye testing technology are already in use by NASA aboard the International Space Station to monitor astronauts’ eye health in zero gravity conditions.

The Australian government has announced grant funding of $912,000 for the project through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. This funding will support the refinement of the system and its implementation in Australia and India in collaboration with the Aravind Eye Institute from South India. Industry partners, TeleMedC from Australia and Aurolab from India, have been enlisted to support potential commercialization efforts.

Professor Kanagasingam anticipates that full-scale trials of the new technology could commence within a year, marking a significant milestone in the fight against preventable blindness.

Website | + posts

Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

Next Up