Effective screening is a desirable method for the early detection and successful treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and fundus photography is currently the dominant medium for retinal imaging due to its convenience and accessibility. Manual screening using fundus photographs has however involved considerable costs for patients, clinicians and national health systems, which has limited its application particularly in less-developed countries. The advent of artificial intelligence, and in particular deep learning techniques, has however raised the possibility of widespread automated screening.
In this review, we first briefly survey major published advances in retinal analysis using artificial intelligence. We take care to separately describe standard multiple-field fundus photography, and the newer modalities of ultra-wide field photography and smartphone-based photography. Finally, we consider several machine learning concepts that have been particularly relevant to the domain and illustrate their usage with extant works.
In the ophthalmology field, it was demonstrated that deep learning tools for diabetic retinopathy show clinically acceptable diagnostic performance when using colour retinal fundus images. Artificial intelligence models are among the most promising solutions to tackle the burden of diabetic retinopathy management in a comprehensive manner. However, future research is crucial to assess the potential clinical deployment, evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different DL systems in clinical practice and improve clinical acceptance.

© The Author(s) 2020.