It is based on artificial intelligence
A mobile application developed in-house by the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) based on artificial intelligence techniques is being tested in a few districts by Tamil Nadu State Blind Control Society (TNSBCS) for screening the public for cataract.
Santosh K. Misra, Commissioner of e-Governance and Chief Executive Officer of TNeGA, said that the application has been designed in such a way as to address the resource constraints in screening a large number of people for cataract, a condition that could lead to blindness if left untreated.
He said the mobile application can be used for preliminary screening of the eye of a person. Through the image captured by the application in close range, it can detect if the person had cataract and whether further medical support was required, he said. He added that the application had been designed to detect macular disintegration as well.
Highlighting that cataract was a major cause of blindness that could be prevented, Mr. Misra said that in the present scenario, screening of a large number of people required trained professionals and other resources. “Consequently, many cases go undetected,” he said.
Data put out by the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment for 2018-19 said that 3,33,203 cataract surgeries were performed in Tamil Nadu.
“We got a request from the Health and Family Welfare Department highlighting this issue. To address that, we have developed this application in about three to four months’ time,” Mr. Misra said.
He said that sample images provided by TNSBCS was used to design the application to detect cataract and the application proved quite effective during internal testing. Pointing out that field trials were being done in a few districts now with TNSBCS, he said that the application will soon be rolled out widely once its accuracy was found to be satisfactory.
N. Venkatesh Prajna, Chief, Cornea and Refractive Surgeries, and Director, Residency Training, Aravind Eye Care System, said that cataract was a major public health problem. Acknowledging the need for newer strategies to tackle it, he stressed that validation of these solutions through wide population-based studies was important.
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