An artificial intelligence (AI) app just hit the digital shelves—and it’s designed to become a part of your retinal exams. The Fluid Intelligence app (Retina-AI) uses algorithms to analyze optical coherence tomography (OCT) images for macular edema and subretinal fluid. The app has shown a greater than 90% accuracy in detecting these clinical findings, according to the company.

According to a press release, the app is designed to help eye care providers better interpret retinal OCT images in the absence of a retinal specialist. If an optometrist has a macular degeneration patient in the clinic and is unsure whether the degeneration is actively wet or not, “the optometrist can take a picture of the OCT retinal scan and get a prediction as to whether that patient urgently needs an eye injection or not,” the company claims.

While an intriguing app that may help guide untrained or geographically isolated practitioners, users should approach it with a certain level of skepticism, according to Andrew Rixon, OD, an attending optometrist at the Memphis VA Medical Center in Tennessee. “At present there is limited information on what constitutes the company’s claims of ‘90% accuracy,’ and there is also the implication that a picture of the OCT retinal scan involves one slice that is selected for analysis.”

ODs who use OCT should strive to improve their own interpretation skills, Dr. Rixon says. “This extends beyond the analysis of a single structural OCT slice of retina to include the entirety of the involved area.” And that also includes both the clinical funduscopic evaluation and the use and interpretation of multimodal imaging, he adds. “This is the only way to comprehensively guide our management patterns. We need to drive the machine, the machine cannot drive us.”

“Although AI has been proposed to perform as well as human experts, in 2018 the clinician is still the ultimate determinant of how to manage these patients,” Dr. Rixon concludes. “A promising app such as this should remain as a helpful supplement.”

Retina-AI. Retina-AI releases the first artificial intelligence mobile app for eye-care providers: fluid intelligence by Retina-AI. July 13, 2018. Accessed July 20, 2018.