AI ‘outperforms’ ophthalmologists

March 4, 2024 Staff reporters

A US study found an artificial intelligence (AI) system matched, or in some cases outperformed, experienced ophthalmologists in their diagnoses and proposed treatments for glaucoma and retinal disease. 


Researchers from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) recruited 12 attending ophthalmologists and three senior trainees from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. A basic set of 20 questions (10 each for glaucoma and retina) from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s list of patients’ commonly asked questions was randomly selected, along with 20 deidentified patient cases. Responses from both the AI system and ophthalmologists were then rated for accuracy and thoroughness. 


AI demonstrated superior performance in response to the glaucoma questions and case-management advice and a more balanced outcome in the retina questions, where AI matched humans in accuracy but exceeded them in completeness, reported the research team.  


AI could serve as a reliable assistant to eye specialists by providing diagnostic support and potentially easing their workload, especially in complex cases or areas of high patient volume, said lead author Dr Andy Huang. “For patients, the integration of AI into mainstream ophthalmic practice could result in quicker access to expert advice, coupled with more informed decision-making to guide their treatment.”