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Why in News:

  • Early stage diabetic retinopathy has been detected using artificial intelligence (AI) at civic- run dispensaries at mumbai.


  • The unique project is being implemented by the Aditya Jyot Foundation for Twinkling Little Eyes (AJFTLE) and, in a span of eight months, nearly 1,300 diabetes patients have been screened on a retinal imaging device attached to a smartphone.

Diabetic retinopathy:

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the commonest diabetic eye disease; it damages blood vessels in light-sensitive tissue at the back of the retina.


  • Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision Vision loss
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Vision loss
  • Impaired color vision

Causes: / Diabetic retinopathy

  • Over time, too much sugar in your blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don’t develop properly and can leak easily.
  • There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
  • Early diabetic retinopathy. In this more common form — called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) — new blood vessels aren’t growing (proliferating).
  • When you have NPDR, the walls of the blood vessels in your retina weaken. Tiny bulges (microaneurysms) protrude from the vessel walls of the smaller vessels, sometimes leaking fluid and blood into the retina. Larger retinal vessels can begin to dilate and become irregular in diameter, as well. NPDR can progress from mild to severe, as more blood vessels become blocked.
  • Nerve fibers in the retina may begin to swell. Sometimes the central part of the retina (macula) begins to swell (macular edema), a condition that requires treatment.
  • Advanced diabetic retinopathy:

    • Diabetic retinopathy can progress to this more severe type, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In this type, damaged blood vessels close off, causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina, and can leak into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye (vitreous).
    • Eventually, scar tissue stimulated by the growth of new blood vessels may cause the retina to detach from the back of your eye. If the new blood vessels interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, pressure may build up in the eyeball. This can damage the nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain (optic nerve), resulting in glaucoma.

    Risk factors:

    • Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. Risk of developing the eye condition can increase as a result of:
    • Duration of diabetes — the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy
    • Poor control of your blood sugar level
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Pregnancy Tobacco use

    AI role :

    • As a part of the AI project, technicians from the Aditya Jyot Foundation visit civic dispensaries along with Remedio Fundus on Phone, a portable device attached to a smartphone equipped with retinal imaging.
    • After the patient’s eye images are clicked, the AI on the device screens them for signs of diabetic retinopathy, and prompts technicians on whether they should be referred to a hospital or not. If the image is unclear, the device also prompts a retake of the picture.
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