March 7, 2024

AI in Ophthalmology: Insights from an Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmology is evolving rapidly, with AI playing a significant role by enabling more informed and data-driven treatment decisions. However, it’s not solely about technology and emerging trends; it also involves dedicated professionals adapting new approaches, often with a hint of apprehension.

We gained valuable insights during the 2023 EURETINA conference in Amsterdam from a figure immersed in this transformative journey: Dr. Corinne Gonzalez, who operates her own eye clinic in Toulouse, France. She's optimistic about AI’s potential in the field of ophthalmology and healthcare interactions in general. However, she always keeps in mind that it’s the human touch that truly distinguishes these domains, making them special. 

At RetinAI, we get that. We see AI as a helpful sidekick, not the hero of the story. Our chat with Dr. Gonzalez gave us the inside track on today's eye care world and a peek at what's coming next. It's exciting, a little bit nerve-wracking, but definitely a journey worth watching. Let’s dive into her perspective, shared below.

What are your thoughts regarding the adaptation and integration of AI in clinical workflows and patient management? 

Artificial Intelligence holds significant importance, and its adoption is becoming increasingly widespread. However, it's essential to understand that machines aren't inherently intelligent. Their functionality and effectiveness depend largely on the quality of data input and the way this data is utilized.

The priority should be to educate practitioners and ophthalmologists on leveraging the insights and capabilities AI offers.

Looking ahead, the priority should be to enhance data analysis processes, be highly discerning with the data provided to these systems, and educate practitioners and ophthalmologists on leveraging the insights and capabilities AI offers. The emphasis is not just on what AI can tell us, but also on how we interact with and utilize this information in a practical, clinical context.

How could AI technology assist your clinic in participating in clinical trials more efficiently?

In clinical studies, automation is crucial because relying solely on manual processes can be incredibly time-consuming. The time spent on manual tasks could be better utilized for deeper consideration and analysis.

That's why I'm an advocate for automation; the time saved can be redirected towards more thoughtful deliberation.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in this aspect. Conducting measurements manually, for instance, eats up valuable time. Implementing AI not only conserves this time but also reallocates it, allowing healthcare professionals, including ophthalmologists, to dedicate more time for reflection, innovation, and critical thinking.

Indeed, AI's usefulness in research is undeniable. If the results are more accurate, consistent and the evaluations more precise, the overall efficacy of practitioners will improve, becoming more effective and stringent. AI is poised to enhance our capabilities significantly. However, I believe it's essential to exercise caution regarding AI's role. We must be selective and deliberate in what we allow artificial intelligence to undertake, ensuring it serves as an aid to practitioners, not a replacement.

How do you view AI's role in supporting ophthalmologists in their daily practice?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a crucial role in augmenting clinical practice, providing numerous insights that contribute to efficiency. However, the primary focus should remain on the expertise and discernment of the ophthalmologist or practitioner, who needs to maintain skills superior to what AI can offer. The machine serves as a tool, not the decision-maker.

It's imperative that we advocate for the enhanced use of AI, while ensuring it complements our role and practice.

It's essential to communicate the importance of distinguishing the roles and maintaining a clear distinction between what machines provide and the irreplaceable judgment and expertise of the practitioner.

Navigating the Future: AI and Human Expertise in Harmony

The apprehension surrounding AI's role in ophthalmology is understandable. After all, embracing change, especially in the medical realm, requires both time and trust. Yet, AI's potential to revolutionize practices, improve patient outcomes, and make processes more efficient is undeniable.

At RetinAI, we recognize these concerns and align our solutions to enhance the practitioner's capabilities, not overshadow them. By fostering a collaborative relationship between AI and ophthalmologists, we aspire to pave a future where technology and human expertise work hand-in-hand for the betterment of patient care.

Our platform, Discovery for Clinics, is built to that extent. No more juggling systems to access patient data — everything is in one place. Our platform's advanced AI gives deeper disease insights, simplifies tele-ophthalmology, and keeps you, the practitioner, in command. With RetinAI, technology complements your expertise, never replaces it. Get in touch with us to get a demo, and gain more information on our product page, here

This article was written by Léa Errog