The study was done to check the ability of deep learning (DL) algorithms to identify eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) from optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans has been previously established. We herewith evaluate the ability of a DL model, showing excellent performance on a Korean data set, to generalise onto an American data set despite ethnic differences. In addition, expert graders were surveyed to verify if the DL model was appropriately identifying lesions indicative of nAMD on the OCT scans.

On external validation, AUC and AUPRC remained high at 0.952 (95% CI 0.942 to 0.962) and 0.891 (95% CI 0.875 to 0.908) at the individual level. Saliency maps showed that in normal OCT scans, the fovea was the main area of interest; in nAMD OCT scans, the appropriate pathological features were areas of model interest. Survey of 10 retina specialists confirmed this.

The study concluded that DL algorithm exhibited high performance for nAMD identification in a Korean population, and generalised well to an ethnically distinct, American population. The model correctly focused on the differences within the macular area to extract features associated with nAMD.