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Automated diabetic retinopathy screening system

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
2501 Yale Blvd. SE ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87106-4200
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: Yes
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Automated diabetic retinopathy screening system
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43EY020015-01
Award Amount: $250,001.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This proposed project is motivated by the fact that comprehensive, broad-scale screening of diabetics for retinopathy is economically prohibitive without the introduction of computer-assisted dia gnosis of retinal images. Over 20 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and it is estimated that less than half of those individuals are screened periodically for diabetic retinopathy. Lack of medical coverage and acce ss to healthcare providers imposes major obstacles for nearly 10 million diabetics. Creating an affordable and accessible solution to providing screening services to these diabetics presents a significant challenge to the healthcare commu nity. A comprehensive screening program for U.S. citizens utilizing human readers to grade each case would be prohibitively expensive. The solution is to implement a computer-assisted technology similar to other medical applicat ions, such as mammograms and Pap smears; that would provide comprehensive, periodic screening of our at-risk population. Numerous investigators have developed specific algorithms, each detecting only one specific type of lesion, such as dark lesions, wh ite lesions, or vessel characteristics. These algorithms have been tested using a single modality (pixel format, SLO, standard funduscope, color, red free, etc.) and each new camera can require significant re-tuning of the algorithms. The goal of this project is to demonstrate and then validate an entirely new approach for computer-assisted grading of retinal images. The significance of this proposed research is two-fold. First, by increasing the productivity of reading centers, a muc h larger population of at-risk diabetics will have access to this service, leading to improved quality of life through early detection and treatment. Second, by providing a validated, robust computer-assisted grading system, all existin g reading centers would benefit economically through the added efficiency of our system. Our system does not replace current human readers; it simply allows an increase of throughput of cases by factors of five or more without sacrifi cing sensitivity and specificity. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Today, about 10 million diabetics do not receive annual eye examinations. Without these examinations early detection of vision threatening retinopathy is not possible. The resulting earl y loss of vision for many of these diabetics is the leading cause of blindness in the western world. There is an insufficient number of healthcare specialists to perform eye examinations for this population. Without computer-based screenin g, a broad-scale screening of the population will not be possible.

Principal Investigator:

Peter S. Soliz

Business Contact:

Peter Solix
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 120228556
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No