Background. It is estimated that 347 million people suffer from diabetes mellitus (DM), and almost 5 million are blind due to diabetic retinopathy (DR). The progression of DR can be slowed down with early diagnosis and treatment. Therefore our aim was to develop a novel automated method for DR screening. Methods. 52 patients with diabetes mellitus were enrolled into the project. Of all patients, 39 had signs of DR. Digital retina images and tear fluid samples were taken from each eye. The results from the tear fluid proteomics analysis and from digital microaneurysm (MA) detection on fundus images were used as the input of a machine learning system. Results. MA detection method alone resulted in 0.84 sensitivity and 0.81 specificity. Using the proteomics data for analysis 0.87 sensitivity and 0.68 specificity values were achieved. The combined data analysis integrated the features of the proteomics data along with the number of detected MAs in the associated image and achieved sensitivity/specificity values of 0.93/0.78. Conclusions. As the two different types of data represent independent and complementary information on the outcome, the combined model resulted in a reliable screening method that is comparable to the requirements of DR screening programs applied in clinical routine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism