SAP, CleaVision to deploy deep tech to minimise blindness in premature babies

The solution is currently being piloted at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute in Bengaluru

September 08, 2022 04:34 pm | Updated 04:34 pm IST - Bengaluru

Doctors at Narayana Nethralaya using the power of machine learning and data analytics to detect Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in a pre-term baby

Doctors at Narayana Nethralaya using the power of machine learning and data analytics to detect Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in a pre-term baby | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The power of machine learning and data analytics can be explored to reduce blindness that occurs as a result of Retinopathy of Prematurity, a condition where abnormal growth of blood vessels inside the eyes of pre-term babies can cause bleeding, scarring and retinal detachment, as per SAP.

SAP and CleaVision, a social venture, on Thursday announced an initiative aimed at reducing the risk of preventable blindness as a result of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in pre-term babies.

A solution driven by machine learning and data analytics would help doctors to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis while treating such babies, said SAP in a statement. The solution is currently being piloted at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute in Bengaluru.

“We are piloting the software through the KIDROP (Karnataka Internet Assisted Diagnosis of ROP) programme, which performs up to 2,500 imaging sessions each month from 135 neonatal units across Karnataka,” said Dr. Anand Vinekar, Head, Paediatric Retina Department at Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute.

High incidence of pre-term births in India

It is estimated that, of the 3.5 million live births annually, over 2,00,000 infants are likely to suffer from the advanced stage of ROP. 

It is estimated that, of the 3.5 million live births annually, over 2,00,000 infants are likely to suffer from the advanced stage of ROP.  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

According to the statement, one-fifth of the world’s 15 million pre-term babies are born in India. It is estimated that, of the 3.5 million live births annually, over 2,00,000 infants are likely to suffer from the advanced stage of ROP.

Failure of timely intervention and treatment can lead to irreversible blindness.

“Early diagnosis is essential as most babies will recover completely if they get timely treatment for ROP,” said Chirag Gupta and Narayan V K, co-founders of CleaVision.

“With India having the highest number of pre-mature pregnancies and the fact that there are relatively few qualified ROP practitioners, the more we can digitise and automate pre-screening, the more time those practitioners can spend on actual treatment,” they said.

Automating the screening process

Explaining the process, the company said, the CleaVision solution would integrate image data processing with SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP AI Platform, and SAP Analytics Cloud to automate the identification of retina and blood vessel features and to make a recommendation on plus disease – a severe manifestation of ROP in premature babies.

The screening data would then be served to hospitals and could be reviewed in the KIDROP telemedicine network.

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