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  • Writer's pictureSimone Klose

OXIA - Eye Health Screening with AI

Updated: May 4, 2023

In the Spotlight: Dr. Zoran Aleksic, founder of OxIA, shares mission to get patients to understand the benefits of eye screening and how, through a 60 second photograph, many eye-related and non eye-related diseases could be prevented.

Dr. Zoran Aleksic, UCT postgraduate, is an eye surgeon and Ophthalmologist specialist in cataract / lens surgery and laser refractive surgery in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the co-founder of OxIA, a cloud based platform which is committed to streamline the eye screening process. OxIA connects patients with screening points, medical practitioners, optometrists, treatment centers and specialists all through a central digital hub. With the globally agreed view that prevention is better than cure, OxIA is synonymous.

Alongside working in his private practice for over two decades, he has been working tirelessly on OxIA for the latter years. This has given him a sympathetic understanding of both practice and patient. It is this which initially attracted Dr Jonathan Joffe, director of Namibia’s leading eye health center, Olympia Eye & Laser Centre. Dr. J. Joffe instantly valued OxIA’s efficient programme for both patient and healthcare provider.

Q: Dr. Aleksic, what was the problem you observed with screening when you started working in private practice?

The simple answer to this is that there was no screening. This was coupled with the amount of diabetic eye diseases we saw coming to my practice, almost all of which were totally preventable. We needed a better system but it was essential that this was achieved in a way that did not provide a lesser service.

Q: As a patient, what would your experience with OXIA entail?

OxIA is automated and operates on a clear step-by-step model. A patient can book it themselves online, through their medical practitioner or their optometrist. The test is as easy as having to update your profile picture. There are no long queues and, of course, it is non-invasive.

During the test a patient’s eyes are photographed with our high-res fundus camera. The photographs are immediately and securely uploaded to OxIA's platform. As soon as they are uploaded a preliminary report for eye disease can be generated in seconds. Once uploaded onto OxIA the technology kicks in, where artificial intelligence reviews the images, and then specialists are equally able to review the results online. Compare this to the time and effort taken for a patient to schedule an appointment with a busy specialist; it is much quicker.

OxIA allows specialists to check not only for the side-effects of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, but at no additional cost patients can also be screened for other common diseases including eye diseases that are leading causes of blindness, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, tumors of the eye and many more. Let me add that most of these conditions, if caught early, are treatable.

Q: What kind of future do you see for adopters of OxIA, such as Olympia Eye and Laser Center?

All around the world, but especially in the underdeveloped world, we have a limited number of medical practitioners and specialists that provide services nowadays. OxIA helps utilize the existing medical practitioners better, allowing them to focus on medicine and use their skills and time better. By doing this, OxIA is able to create easier and faster access for patients to any involved medical practitioner and medical treatment.

Another huge attraction is the cloud-based nature of OxIA. It is no secret that one of the factors hindering eye doctors and causing burnout is paperwork. There is an ever increasing strain on healthcare professionals globally to keep up with the treatment and prevention of diseases, and oftentimes it is the former which gets more attention. OxIA will be able to alleviate this burnout for early adopters such as Dr J. Joffe and his colleagues at Olympia Eye and Laser Center, and in addition, work to tailor any of their clinic needs to our programme.

By utilizing AI-powered technology to keep patients informed, and vulnerable patients flagged, OxIA can continue to drive its mission of increasing access to quality eye healthcare.

Q: If you could leave our readers with one final message, what would it be?

The bottom line is that you do not have to be sick or have a disease to be screened. Whether you are young or old, ill or healthy, everyone needs to have this type of test as part of their general healthcare. This is because it gives a valuable insight into your overall health.

If you agree with our view, “prevent now - for the life that awaits you,” then all you need to do is book a 60-second equivalent of taking an online profile picture and let OxIA, AI and SI do the rest. As busy as life gets, I am confident that every single one of you are able to dedicate 60 seconds now to a lifetime of health.


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