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ASCRS 2024: Pearls for the anterior segment surgeon

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Alejandro Espaillat, MD, sat down to discuss his presentation on pearls for the anterior segment surgeon at this year's ASCRS meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Alejandro Espaillat, MD, sat down to discuss his presentation on pearls for the anterior segment surgeon at this year's ASCRS meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Video Transcript

Editor's note - This transcript has been edited for clarity.

David Hutton:

I'm David Hutton of Ophthalmology Times, ASCRS is holding its annual meeting in Boston. At that event, Dr. Alejandro Espaillat is presenting "Ophthalmology: Pearls for the anterior segment surgeon." Thanks for joining us today. Tell us about this session.

Alejandro Espaillat, MD:

Well, David, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here talking to your audience and readership, which I sincerely admire. This is going to be a very comprehensive level, instructive level, basic presentation on how artificial intelligence is implemented for the anterior segment surgeon. But we will start with a definition of artificial intelligence – what exactly that means. And the difference between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. And how artificial intelligence algorithms are created. And how do they work, particularly when they are implemented in healthcare, and specifically in ophthalmology, and for this particular meeting, particularly for the anterior segment surgeon and comprehensive ophthalmologist.

David Hutton:

Ultimately, how can the use of AI help surgeons provide better outcomes for their patients?

Alejandro Espaillat, MD:

It will completely change the way we practice medicine today and the way we get paid and the way we diagnose and treat the diseases. Just to give you an idea, there are published papers right now recently published in China, where a typical ophthalmologist nowadays even in the United States sees an average of about 4000 patients per year. With the proper implementation of artificial intelligence, a typical ophthalmologist will be able to – and this is not a misquote. From 4000 patients per year, you will be able to have access to 46,000 patients per year. When that implementation is done from the specialist all the way down to the primary care physician to the community physician. The eyecare provider will be able to increase the number of patients as well as to improve the diagnosis accuracy, assisting in the detection of eye diseases at much earlier stages and therefore preventing blindness.

David Hutton:

Could this be something that could help access to ophthalmology care for patients who may live in rural areas and not have easy access?

Alejandro Espaillat, MD:

Absolutely. Nowadays, we have what we called desert specialist areas. Areas where there just is lack of specialized eye care and specialized care in multiple specialties. So for patients, this will mean early diagnosis and early treatment and disease prevention. And so it will provide a much more personal care and recommendations and it will enhance the overall patient care through more efficient and streamline processes.

David Hutton:

And lastly, what's the take home message of this presentation?

Alejandro Espaillat, MD:

We have to be open to the new technology. Artificial intelligence is not here to replace doctors. It will enhance the way doctors practice and care for their patients. Be open about it and get ready to learn as much as possible and to implement these new changes that are coming very soon.

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