Leonardo Canada | Orbis

Leonardo Canada

With support from Founding Partner, Leonardo Canada, Orbis Canada launched a new study with the potential to revolutionize the way people living with diabetes in remote or underserved communities are screened for diabetic eye disease, particularly diabetic retinopathy.

One of the most serious and feared complications of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness among Canadians under the age of 50 and the most common cause of new blindness in North America. It is also the leading cause of blindness among working-aged adults globally.

The traditional approach to screening for DR involves taking a picture of the back of a patient’s eye, which is then analyzed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. For Canadians living in remote communities where access to a specialist eye health professional is limited, getting screened isn’t always possible.

In many remote northern communities in Canada, the nearest ophthalmologist could be many hundreds of kilometers away.

Using the Power Of AI To Screen for Dr

With funding support from Leonardo Canada, the new study – Orbis’s first-ever initiative in Canada – aims to prove the viability of an artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted model for screening people living with diabetes for DR. Using Health Canada approved technology, patients who are visiting their primary care physician in select locations in northern Ontario will receive an AI-supported eye screening.

The trained AI system detects abnormalities associated with DR in mere seconds by analyzing images of the back of the eye, providing an almost-immediate result during that visit. Because the software works on its own, staff who are not eye health specialists can still get accurate results. There is no need to have an ophthalmologist or specially trained grader analyze the image.

Francesco Norante

President, Leonardo Canada

Leonar­do Cana­da is proud to sup­port Orbis Cana­da, an orga­ni­za­tion which is under­tak­ing crit­i­cal work with local com­mu­ni­ties that suf­fer with dia­bet­ic eye dis­ease. As a trust­ed Cana­di­an part­ner for more than 50 years, we are hon­oured to con­tribute to this impor­tant fund­ing development.”

Through this study, Orbis Canada aims to demonstrate how this technology can improve access to eye screening for Canadians living with diabetes in remote areas by bringing the diagnostic capacity of a specialist to the community – wherever that community may be. This screening approach also reduces the need for multiple appointments or unnecessary travel for patients to see a specialist, while at the same time reducing demand on ophthalmologists and allowing them to focus on more urgent patient care needs.

With the support of partners, like Leonardo Canada, our ultimate goal is to successfully integrate autonomous AI screening for DR as part of a wholistic and sustainable diabetes management program for people living in remote areas and then scaling the program to other regions.

About Leonardo

Leonardo Canada, with its headquarters in Ottawa, acts as the focal point for Canadian customers and stakeholders and supports ongoing business development, in line with Leonardo’s industrial plan. The company is a leading provider of capabilities through innovative technologies and integrated services.

Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. Organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio. Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber & Security Solutions and Space). Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in 2021 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of €14.1 billion and invested €1.8 billion in Research and Development. The company has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) since 2010 and has been confirmed among the global sustainability leaders in 2021. Leonardo is also included in the MIB ESG index.

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