Printed images of an eyeball scanned by AI.

Orbis wins 2023 Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected as a winner of the 2023 Amazon Web Services (AWS) IMAGINE Grant, enabling enhanced roll out of Cybersight AI in Africa and Asia.

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Thanks to the generous grant, awarded to nonprofits using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, we’ll continue our work with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to boost access to AI-assisted eye screenings powered by our bespoke tool, Cybersight, in communities in Africa and Asia.

This technology is set to redefine what is possible during vision screenings for people afflicted by eye diseases that cause irreversible blindness like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Our very own peer-reviewed research from Rwanda shows the effectiveness of Cybersight AI. Studies suggest the tool leads to increased uptake of referral services and high levels of satisfaction. The tech has also been shown to be equally effective for children with diabetes as it is for adults.

A man is looking into an eye scanner that uses AI.

A patient lines up for his AI-led diabetic retinopathy scan

How AI-Led Tech Helped Jean with Diabetes

Jean, a 19-year-old patient with diabetes in Kigali, Rwanda, recently had his eyes screened at the Rwanda Diabetes Association clinic using Cybersight AI technology. He was relieved to know immediately that he was not showing any signs of disease. Of learning the news, he said, “I will continue taking care of myself and following the recommendation from my health care worker so my eyes don’t get damaged from the diabetes.”

Over the past three years, Orbis built Cybersight AI and deployed the technology in partner hospitals in Rwanda and Vietnam using AWS cloud services. Now, with expanded support from AWS, we’re establishing a new instance of Cybersight AI in the AWS Africa (Cape Town) region, which will improve the performance of eye clinics across Africa.

Thanks to the award, Cybersight AI will be trained to take advantage of new, larger, and more diverse datasets, ensuring the most accurate results. The project will also add the detection of a third eye disease, diabetic macular edema, another leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes.

Nicolas Jaccard, Orbis Principal Architect, Telehealth and Program Technology says: “Cybersight AI, Orbis’s state-of-the-art technology, is a proven, effective and accessible technology to screen for diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The tool analyzes images of the back of the eye and, within seconds, indicates whether the patient shows signs of glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. This technology is more scalable, cheaper and faster than current models that require a human grader. With this grant, Orbis will expand this revolutionary tool to more areas without access to quality eye care.”

Jean stands outside with a smile, looking onward.

Jean is a 19-year-old patient with diabetes in Kigali, Rwanda

Using AI to Combat Eye Disease

Diabetic retinopathy is now the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults, and glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Ensuring more people with these conditions have access to early detection and intervention is key to saving sight for millions of people.

Timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of vision loss by as much as 98%. However, early detection and intervention are often hampered by a lack of skilled eye care professionals and limited patient access – challenges that AI screenings can help communities overcome.

The health, education and economic impact of vision loss is devastating, particularly for people in the poorest communities. Continued investment and innovation in eye care is urgent.

Now in its sixth year, the AWS IMAGINE Grant program has awarded over $7M in unrestricted funds, AWS Promotional Credits, and AWS training support to 89 nonprofit organizations in support of their technology-driven goals.

We’re so grateful to have been selected by Amazon Web Services as winners of this generous grant. With it, we’ll be able to enhance AI-led screenings in areas where it is needed most and help families get the eye care they need to thrive.

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