HLTH Foundation honors Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada for advancing AI-enabled healthcare in underserved communities

TORONTO and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC), Canada’s leading provider of rehabilitation therapy and healthcare services for individuals with vision loss, today was awarded the HLTH Foundation’s Global Techquity Impact Award for its use of the EyeArt® artificial intelligence (AI) Eye Screening System from Eyenuk to make vision-saving diabetic retinopathy screening accessible to more Canadians. 

The HLTH Foundation’s Techquity for Health Coalition issued the award after reviewing over 200 case study submissions from around the world. The Global Techquity Impact Award recognizes a project outside the USA that effectively uses technology to overcome geographical, cultural, or socioeconomic barriers for a population experiencing persistent health disparities.  

The award recognizes VLRC’s diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening program for at-risk individuals; DR is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Using AI, VLRC is making significant advancements in improving access to critical vision care, particularly in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across Ontario. 

“Our program is designed to overcome significant barriers that often prevent people from accessing screening. These may include physical, psychological, geographical, cultural, language and socioeconomic barriers. We integrate screens within communities and existing programs that individuals are familiar with and are closer to their homes,” said Josie McGee, Vice President of Healthcare Innovation at VLRC. 

McGee continued, “We are striving to ensure that everyone – including underserved, rural, remote, and Indigenous communities – has equitable access to reliable and culturally respectful diabetic retinopathy screening. We aim to create a future where these communities can benefit from AI screening and receive the care they need and deserve.”   

VLRC’s Eye Health Screening Initiative (EHSI) trains local community providers to use Eyenuk’s EyeArt System, the first autonomous AI technology licensed by Health Canada for the detection of DR. Paired with a retinal camera, the EyeArt system autonomously analyzes a patient’s undilated retinal images to detect signs of disease without the need for expert human review or grading. The system creates a report in less than 30 seconds, versus days or weeks with traditional teleophthalmology screening. Patients with positive results are referred to an ophthalmologist for care and VLRC provides ongoing care coordination. 

“This recognition of Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada is well deserved for their continuing success in bringing vision-saving eye care to rural and Indigenous communities,” said Kaushal Solanki, PhD, founder and CEO of Eyenuk. “We are committed to helping not-for-profit organizations such as VLRC to establish and extend programs to help prevent vision loss among communities that face real barriers to accessing this vital care.” 

Since launching the initiative in 2022, VLRC’s partner organizations have screened over 1,000 individuals for diabetic retinopathy using the EyeArt system. Approximately 50 percent of those screened had not seen an eyecare specialist in the last 5 years – if ever.  Over 16 percent of those who received conclusive EyeArt reports were found to have either more-than-mild or vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy and were referred to the appropriate eye care professionals for assessment and treatment.  

The HLTH Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit of HLTH, Inc., promotes equity, inclusion and opportunity in healthcare, focusing on patients, healthcare professionals and startup founders.  

About Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada
Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) is a not-for-profit national healthcare organization and the leading provider of rehabilitation therapy and healthcare services for individuals with vision loss.  

Discover more about VLRC on its website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter

About Eyenuk, Inc.
Eyenuk, Inc. is a global artificial intelligence (AI) digital health company and the leader in real-world AI Eye Screening™ for autonomous disease detection and AI Predictive Biomarkers™ for risk assessment and disease surveillance. Eyenuk is on a mission to screen every eye in the world to ensure timely diagnosis of life- and vision-threatening diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, stroke risk, cardiovascular risk, and Alzheimer’s disease. Find Eyenuk online on its website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  

About the EyeArt AI System
The EyeArt AI System provides fully autonomous screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucomatous optic nerve damage. The EyeArt AI system has CE marking as a class IIb medical device in the European Union under the EU’s Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745 (“MDR”) for the detection of DR, AMD, and glaucomatous optic nerve damage. Additionally, the system has U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance and a Health Canada license for autonomous detection of DR. 

VIDEO: Learn more about the EyeArt AI System for Autonomous Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy  



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