50,000 “IRIS Saves” helps prevent blindness in previously undetected cases
PENSACOLA, FL – Oct. 24, 2018 – Shortly after celebrating its fifth year serving clients, Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) announced today that its cloud-based diagnostic imaging solution and retinal telemedicine platform has now identified over 50,000 patients with advanced sight-threatening pathologies that would have led to imminent blindness had they remained undetected, resulting in what they are calling “IRIS Saves.”
Since launching its platform in 2013, IRIS has performed more than 345,000 patient exams for diabetic retinopathy and other diseases, identifying nearly 15 percent with imminent sight-threatening disease and over 40% with some level of retinal pathology.
“As we reflect on this milestone, I couldn’t be more proud of what our team has managed to accomplish in such a short time,” said Chris Belmont, Chief Executive Officer of IRIS. “The impact of this achievement is breathtaking. Think about the 50,000 patients who can now retain their driver’s license, watch their children grow up and live life without vision impairment. Looking to the future, we are dedicated to stopping the progression of vision loss in as many patients as possible, and we anticipate doubling our ‘IRIS Saves’ to 100,000 by the end of next year.”
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent, but unfortunately only about 40 percent of people with diabetes pursue early detection or receive the recommended annual retinal examination.
IRIS employs licensed ophthalmologists and retina specialists in their IRIS Reading Center, who login remotely to the telemedicine grading platform and diagnose disease in the patient images. The IRIS platform utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the experience; after images are captured and uploaded to the cloud, they are run through a series of algorithms to enhance and analyze the photos for the grading physicians to ensure a rapid, accurate diagnosis every time.
“At Emory and Grady, we started this program not just to improve quality of care for our diabetic patients, but to increase the capacity of our eye care providers to see those patients needing treatment.,” said Dr. Yousuf Khalifa, Chief of Ophthalmology at Grady Health System. “Providing this exam in primary care not only monitors the beginning stages of disease, but also identifies severe retinal disease in time to get that patient treatment. For many of these patients, the test results have served as a wake-up call, prompting them to take control of their diabetes and improve other aspects of their health.”
The CDC predicts that between 2018 and 2050, based on overall population growth projections, the number of Americans with diabetes is expected to grow more than five-fold to 161 million, meaning that 1 in 3 Americans will have type 2 diabetes if current trends continue. Similarly, the number with diabetic retinopathy is expected to surge by a similar amount to 1 in 5 Americans meaning there will be 65 million people suffering from retinal disease and the risk of blindness if the crisis is not addressed.
“The value of identifying patients with retinopathy through a quick and non-invasive photo in the primary care setting cannot be understated,” according to IRIS Reading Center retina specialist, Dr. Shawn Kavoussi. “Not only does diabetic retinopathy cause vision loss, but other prominent causes of blindness such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration can be detected with this test. Visual outcomes are incredibly time dependent; weeks to months can be the difference between preserving normal functional vision versus irreversible loss of sight.”
About IRIS: About Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems
Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) is a Pensacola, FL-based company founded in 2011 by nationally recognized retina surgeon Dr. Sunil Gupta, with a vision to end preventable blindness through the development and deployment of retinal screening services in the primary care setting. The company’s IRIS solution is an FDA-cleared, cloud-based service that has improved quality, expanded access and reduced costs for diabetic retinopathy exams across the U.S. A team of physicians, technicians and practice management experts at IRIS seek to partner with forward-thinking providers and payers to enhance quality patient outcomes and the overall healthcare system. For additional information, visit www.retinalscreenings.com.