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Ellen Shorter, Charles Kinnaird, Sasha Kravets, Joelle Hallak, Tala Al-Khaled, Emily Cole, Nita Valikodath, Timothy McMahon, Robison Vernon Paul Chan, Angelica C. Scanzera; Evaluation of Optometrist’s Perspectives of Artificial Intelligence in Eye Care. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1727.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosing and treating disease has gained popularity in all areas of medicine including eye care. There has been considerable amount of work dedicated to utilizing AI to improve the practice of eye care and patient outcomes. The objective of this study was to survey optometrists on their perspectives of AI in eye care.
Members of the American Academy of Optometry were sent an electronic invitation to complete a 17-question survey administered via Qualtrics between September 30, 2020 and November 30, 2020. Participants were included if they indicated they were an optometrist. Survey items assessed perceived advantages and concerns regarding AI using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Descriptive statistics were used to analyze perceptions surrounding AI.
There were a total of 400 optometrists that completed the survey. The participant’s mean years from graduating optometry school was 25 ± 15.08, and over half were male (54.5%). The majority of participants (55.8%) self-reported completing a residency, most commonly focused on ocular disease (34.6%) or primary care (17.6%). The most common practice setting was private (33.0%) or optometry school (20.0%). The majority of participants reported they were familiar with AI (66.8%) and felt AI should be incorporated into the optometry school or residency curriculum (80.3%). Some participants felt that there was concern for AI to replace providers (25.1%). When selecting what role participants believed AI should play in the future of eye care, optometrists indicated: disease screening (86.8%), monitoring disease progression (69.0%), triage (61.8%), diagnosis (35.3%), and management of decisions (27.0%) or determining refractive error (27.0%). Though half of participants had concerns about the diagnostic accuracy of AI (53.0%), most believed it would improve the practice of optometry (72.0%). Interestingly, participants reported willingness to incorporate AI into practice increased from 53.3% before the pandemic to 65.5% after the onset of the pandemic (p<0.001).
The findings from this study suggest that optometrists are optimistic about the use of AI in eye care. Future studies will be aimed at better understanding optometrist’s knowledge of AI and best practices when integrating AI into clinical practice.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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