Jan 2021 – An estimated 19,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes locally each year, with over 90 per cent of people having Diabetes Type 2 Mellitus (D2M). Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a result of the damage of blood vessels in the retina, is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes and the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults worldwide. About 180,000 out of 600,000 Singaporeans with diabetes have DR. However, while one out of every three individuals with diabetes has DR, five of six people who have the condition are not aware of it.
Amongst the general population, many are oblivious to the need for regular eye examination. However, most of these eye conditions are initially silent and asymptomatic but can be vision threatening when it takes a turn for the worse.
On 27 Jan 2021, EyRIS formalised an Memorandum of Understanding with Diabetes Singapore (DS) to collaborate on several key objectives:
- Improving the productivity, competency and cost-effectiveness of DS through using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the screening of retinal diseases
- Promoting the importance of eye screening for detection of early stage diabetes to prevent vision impairment
- Increasing awareness of diabetic patients to have their eyes screened annually
DS has officially implemented the cloud-based SELENA+, deep learning AI system designed to detect diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma-suspect and age-related macular degeneration in their workflow as of 15 Jan 2021. This is slated to vastly increase the productivity and efficiency of DS, allowing them to greatly ramp up their screening capabilities, enabling scalability.
The MOU was signed by Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran, President of DS and Mr Lai Teik Kin, CEO EyRIS.
In her opening address, Dr Kalpana iterated the importance of incorporating technology into their patient experience and expressed her excitement with regards to the ability to screen more diabetics given the increased efficiency and improved workflow through using SELENA+.
“Today, we are blessed that the leadership of Diabetes Singapore has the foresight to embrace scalable technology and embark on an exciting journey with EyRIS to combat preventable blindness. It is my hope that this project becomes the beacon for other IDF members to adopt.” said Mr Lai in his speech.
The signing ceremony was attended by members of DS, inventors of SELENA+, representatives from Singapore Eye Research Institute, Dr Gavin Tan, who sits on the advisory board of EyRIS and other industry players.
EyRIS develops and deploys artificial intelligence systems to automatically screen retinal images for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma suspect and age-related macular degeneration – diseases that lead to preventable blindness. Jointly developed by the Singapore Eye Research Institute and National University of Singapore, the technology can significantly reduce public health care cost while maintaining standard of care.
About Diabetes Singapore
The Diabetes Society of Singapore (DSS) was founded in 1971. It gained full membership status with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 1977. In 1999, DSS was elected the secretariat of the IDF-Western Pacific Region. In line with the IDF, the Society has observed World Diabetes Day annually since 1991 with talks, lectures and exhibitions for members and the public.
In 2017, the Society was renamed Diabetes Singapore (DS) to reflect its growing role as the voice of diabetes in Singapore. https://www.diabetes.org.sg/
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