MACULA Conference 2022 Part 4: 11th Arch McNamara Lecturer, R.V. Paul Chan. Innovations in ROP.

Samir Patel, MD
Wills Eye Hospital

The 11th annual J. Arch McMamara MD Memorial Lecture at Macula 2022 was given by Dr. R.V. Paul Chan. Dr. Arch McNamara was an exemplary scholar, teacher, and physician who was world renowned for his expertise in pediatric retinal diseases. It is only fitting that Dr. Chan’s lecture focused on retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and was entitled “Technology and Innovation for Retinopathy of Prematurity: Opportunities to Improve Outcomes and Access to Care.”

Dr. Chan’s talk highlighted the recent advances in ROP diagnosis and management, including telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and tele-education initiatives. Although these advances have revolutionized the field, Dr. Chan underscored the implementation gap of these technologies. Blindness from ROP has become a global issue as the third epidemic of ROP is primarily affecting middle-income countries; however, these areas have traditionally had limited access to these technological innovations.

Through his work with the i-ROP and GEN-ROP consortiums, Dr. Chan implemented an artificial intelligence system (i-ROP DL) in middle income countries like Mongolia, Nepal, and India. The group has validated the i-ROP DL system with different patient populations and imaging devices and has created a model for implementing AI systems for ROP in other middle income countries. These systems have the potential to expand the workforce for ROP screening and treatment, improve education for managing ROP, and address potential gaps in health equity. Prevention of ROP is the ultimate goal, and Dr. Chan believes that AI has the potential to be a tool to improve the primary prevention of ROP.