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Mastering Diabetic Retinopathy Care with AI: A Comprehensive Look at the ADA Standards of Care in Diabetes 2024

The ' Standards of Care in Diabetes 2024' report, issued by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), serves as a comprehensive guide for diabetes care, offering clinical recommendations and summarized evidence. This latest report represents a notable evolution in diabetes management. Notably, for the first time, AI is acknowledged as a reliable alternative to traditional screening methods for detecting more than mild diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Emphasizing improved access to screenings, the report underscores the significance of timely referrals.

ADA Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Recommendations

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new instances of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 in developed countries. This complication, associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, affects the neurovascular system, with its prevalence strongly correlating with the duration of diabetes and the degree of glycemic control. 

The report emphasizes the significance of screenings, highlighting the condition's asymptomatic nature and the significant preventive impact of therapy once detected. For adults with type 1 diabetes, an initial comprehensive eye exam by an eye specialist is recommended within five years after diabetes onset. For those with type 2 diabetes, this examination should occur at the time of diabetes diagnosis. Subsequent screenings may be considered annually or biennially if no retinopathy is detected and glycemic indicators are within target ranges. However, if any level of diabetic retinopathy is present, annual screenings are advised, with more frequent exams if the condition worsens or poses a threat to vision.

Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy Using AI

FDA-cleared Artificial Intelligence systems, such as AEYE-DS, are acknowledged as viable alternatives to traditional screening approaches. The AI is completely autonomous, which means it performs the diagnosis instead of a human expert. Clearances for autonomous AIs that screen for diabetic retinopathy require special controls by the FDA, including multicenter clinical trials to prove their  prospective diagnostic accuracy. Moreover, they are typically covered by most insurance plans. 

The ADA’s 2024 Standards of Care in Diabetes report emphasizes the necessity of establishing streamlined pathways for promptly documenting diagnoses, transmitting them to referring healthcare professionals, and facilitating referrals for comprehensive eye examinations when necessary. AI-based solution that enable screenings to happen in primary care and provide a diagnostic result on the spot do exactly what the ADA is after - streamline pathways for promptly documenting diagnoses.


AEYE Health’s Autonomous Diagnostic Screening (AEYE-DS)  recognized among the AI technologies cited in the report, is FDA- cleared to work with both a robotic desktop camera and a portable handheld camera. It offers an accessible user-friendly solution to screen patients at any point of care, whether at home or in a clinic. With only one image per-eye and no-dilation, the solution diagnoses patients on the spot with AI, eliminating the need for specialist interpretation. Understanding the importance of timely referrals and reporting, the solution creates a diagnostic report on the spot,  automatically sent to the referring healthcare professional, ensuring timely record keeping and referrals where indicated. With a dedicated CPT code, 92229, the screening is reimbursable. Additionally, the streamlined approach ensures more timely reporting, enabling closing diabetic eye exam care gaps and improving HEDIS measures and star ratings.

Embracing Innovation: Advancing Diabetes Care with AI Screening

The recognition of AI as a credible alternative to traditional screening methods in the report marks a significant milestone in diabetes care. This acknowledgment not only enhances accessibility to screenings but also emphasizes the critical importance of timely referrals. It reflects a progressive shift towards more efficient and effective approaches in managing diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.



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