Imaging System Enables Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy

The RetinaLyze System

altThe system uses a Windows client-server application based on an ODBC database. The technology is COM components based and written in Microsoft Visual C++ and Microsoft VisualBasic. The enabling algorithms are based on the Imaging Utilities SDK developed by Visiopharm, while the graphical user interface utilizes UltraSuite library by Infragistics. The Matrox Imaging Library MIL-Lite package is used for grabbing images acquired by either a Matrox Meteor-II /Standard or /Multi-Channel frame grabber, depending on the fundus camera used.

Doré explained that developing medical devices based on image analysis represents a tremendous technological challenge. “In the life sciences in general, essential information for understanding complicated relationships in
living organisms with natural biological diversity is often found in images obtained from diagnostic equipment such as MRI, CT, PET, X-ray, ultrasound, or microscopes. The algorithms that analyze these images must be capable of handling this biological diversity in an intelligent and robust manner. At the same time, these methods must be accepted by the medical community.”

Quantitative medical image analysis is the key that unlocks complex organic relationships by turning images into objective knowledge of importance for assessing drug efficacy, disease progression, or toxicity. Added Doré, “Visiopharm’s technology is replacing operator-dependant grading, scoring, and ranking techniques with objective, sensitive, and quantitative image analysis technology.”

The RetinaLyze System is overcoming these challenges very effectively, by implementing algorithms capable of identifying all the normal anatomical elements of the eye, such as blood vessels, the optic nerve head, and the fovea. This allows other algorithms to identify abnormalities in the retina, in terms of pathological manifestations. Although all of these technological components represent major challenges, it is still necessary to develop technology capable of evaluating image quality. All of these technologies have been integrated in the RetinaLyze System.

Seeing Into the Future

RetinaLyze, in collaboration with Visiopharm, now plans to adapt the system for other retinal conditions. These include special applications for vascular morphology, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and hypertension.

The social advantages of the RetinaLyze System are compounded. Since the examinations produce results very quickly, hospitals and clinics can implement diabetic retinopathy screening programs quite easily. Dr. Flanders also noted that diabetics can reduce their risk of retinopathy by maintaining a “blood sugar level in the normal range as much as possible. Weight reduction and control of hypertension and other related risk factors is also important.” In the long term, however, blindness can be prevented in most diabetics, improving the quality of life for patients and their families.

This article was contributed by Matrox Imaging, Dorval, Quebec, Canada. For more information, visit http://info.hotims.com/28051-170.