Orbis International, an eye care non-profit, has partnered with Siloam Vision to use its cloud-based telemedicine platform, powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

The deployment is aimed at expanding access to eye care and preventing blindness in premature infants in hard-to-reach communities.

Developed by the i-ROP consortium, the i-ROP DL platform helps diagnose retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which is said to be the leading cause of childhood blindness across the globe.

This AI system claims to fill the gaps where there is a shortage of trained paediatric ophthalmologists, aiding in the early detection and treatment of ROP.

Siloam Vision co-founder Dr R V Paul Chan said: “There are many efforts focused on training ROP specialists around the world, but it will take decades before there will be enough coverage.

“Telemedicine using digital images is an effective force multiplier, enabling clinicians to reach more patients than ever before.

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“We are excited to partner with Orbis to help save the sight of more preterm babies in hard-to-reach communities.”

Siloam Vision’s i-ROP DL system has received breakthrough designation from the FDA.

Combining an AI algorithm and a cloud-based telemedicine platform and vision camera, the system can identify severe ROP in digital images that are captured on commercially available cameras and help doctors diagnose the disease.

Siloam Vision co-founder Dr J Peter Campbell said: “We started Siloam Vision to improve the care of preterm babies around the world, but we can’t declare success until it gets where it is most needed.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Orbis to help bring AI and telemedicine to the care of babies at risk of ROP everywhere that it may be beneficial.”