AI in Ophthalmology triage automation

There are currently 18 retina specialists in the province of Alberta, approximately half in Calgary and half in Edmonton. Retinal diseases are common. For example, approximately 6.5 percent of people age 40 and older have some degree of macular degeneration. Diabetes retinopathy affects approximately 500,000 Canadians. Many retinal conditions are treatable when detected early, however retinal specialists are concentrated in large urban centres. There are 700+ optometrists across the province today capable of taking and transmitting retinal images for consultation with a retinal specialist. Consultations have significant wait times and the current consultation processes are suboptimal, in terms of ease of triage and prioritization of patients.

Calgary Retina Consultants (CRC) is the largest retina practice in Alberta and among the most respected in Canada. CRC has established a platform to receive retinal images directly from optometrists, as part of the referral process. CRC has accumulated 6000+ low-resolution 2D images from historical referrals. CRC would like to develop a process to automate identification of the diagnosis and severity from images in referrals sent from optometrists, in order to accelerate triage and workflows, and to decrease wait times for patients who would benefit from treatment.

Faculty Supervisor:

Irene Cheng


Tanya Joon




Computer science


Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Alberta



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