Consider this. One-fifth of the world’s 15 million pre-term babies are born in India. It is estimated that, of the 3.5 million live births annually, over 200,000 infants are likely to suffer from the advanced stage of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), where abnormal growth of blood vessels inside the baby’s eyes can cause bleeding, scarring, and retinal detachment. Failure of timely intervention and treatment can lead to irreversible blindness.
“Early diagnosis is essential as most babies will recover completely if they get timely treatment for ROP,” say Chirag Gupta and Narayan VK, co-founders of CleaVision, a sustainable social venture set up under the SAP One Billion Lives programme in 2017. “With India having the highest number of premature pregnancies and the fact that there are relatively few qualified ROP practitioners, the more we can digitise and automate pre-screening, the more time those practitioners can spend on actual treatment.”
An innovative new programme, currently under way at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute in Bengaluru, is making steady progress and holds the promise to reduce the risk of preventable blindness in premature babies. This pilot is the result of a joint initiative between SAP and CleaVision. Using the power of machine learning and data analytics, the CleaVision solution helps time-pressed doctors to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis while focusing on what’s most important — treating at-risk babies.
The CleaVision solution integrates image data processing with SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP AI Platform, and SAP Analytics Cloud to automate the identification of retina and blood vessel features and to make a recommendation on ROP plus disease — a severe manifestation of ROP. The screening data is then served to hospitals and can be reviewed by qualified medical professionals in the KIDROP (Karnataka Internet Assisted Diagnosis of ROP) telemedicine network.
Anand Vinekar, head, Pediatric Retina Department at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute, says, “The CleaVision deep learning automatic ROP Plus disease detection app has shown the ability to differentiate between plus and no plus, which is likely to aid technicians and ROP specialists in arriving at a more accurate triaging diagnosis. That, in turn, would help treat these babies on time, giving a better outcome.”
Narayana Nethralaya is piloting the software through the KIDROP programme, which performs up to 2,500 imaging sessions each month from 135 neonatal units across Karnataka. It is estimated that the screening programme can be scaled up to further outreach and low-resource settings, minimising time to diagnosis and maximising the potential for treatment.
BEHIND THE LENS
* Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a leading cause of childhood blindness
* CleaVision’s solution integrates image data processing with SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP AI Platform, & SAP Analytics Cloud to automate identification of retina and blood
* Bengaluru’s Narayana Nethralaya is piloting this software through the KIDROP programme, with up to 2,500 imaging sessions each month