Devlyn Optical Partners With Eyenuk to Offer Diabetic Retinopathy Screening With Pilot Set for Los Angeles Locations

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LOS ANGELES—Eyenuk Inc. and Devlyn Optical, a spin-off of Grupo Devlyn, are planning to collaborate to pilot diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening services at Devlyn’s convenient optical retail locations by leveraging Eyenuk’s AI-enabled DR screening and telemedicine technologies, according to an announcement. Devlyn and Eyenuk will start the DR screening pilot in Los Angeles, a city where an estimated 11 percent of residents are living with diabetes. Both companies expect to expand their collaboration in the future through geographic expansion, screening for additional eye diseases (such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration), and utilizing novel eye screening technologies at mobile and kiosk-based locations, the announcement noted.

The near-term focus is to pilot in “a standalone Los Angeles store, hopefully starting in late June,” a spokesman for Eyenuk told VMAIL. Devlyn operates eight locations in the U.S., five of which are stand-alone stores (two in California, and three in Texas), and another three locations inside Curacao department stores in Los Angeles. “Eventually, we’d like to do this in all U.S. locations,” the spokesman added.

Devlyn Group, a multinational optical retailer, operates more than 1,000 stores in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the U.S. markets.

“Devlyn Optical has a long tradition of offering high quality, innovative and convenient vision care in multiple countries,” Jesse W. Devlyn Jr., chief executive of Devlyn Optical LLC, said in the announcement.

“There is a growing need for diabetic eyecare in communities we serve, and Devlyn can offer much better DR screening service right inside our optical stores. With this exciting collaboration with Eyenuk, Devlyn will be able to expand our service from vision care to diabetes-related eyecare, in a convenient and safe manner for both people with diabetes and eyecare professionals.”

Eyenuk’s EyeScreen Human+AI Diagnostic Service is a novel AI-enabled telemedicine approach to disease detection that significantly reduces the time for an individual to be in close contact with an eyecare professional, as eye image interpretation is conducted by human grader and AI remotely. After an individual’s retinal images are quickly captured at a Devlyn optical store, images will be independently assessed by both the AI disease detection system and specialist human graders separately and remotely, and then an ICD-10 compliant report is generated.

In the event that the AI and human graders disagree, the images are adjudicated by another professional remotely, according to the announcement.

“Eyenuk is on a mission to screen every eye in the world to ensure timely diagnosis of life- and vision-threatening diseases,” Kaushal Solanki, PhD, founder and chief executive of Eyenuk, said. “As we expand our collaborations with integrated health care systems, diabetes and primary care clinics, retina specialist practices, and national DR screening programs, this partnership with Devlyn Optical enables us to expand our footprint in the optical retail setting where millions of patrons can benefit from onsite DR screening.”

The number of people in the U.S. with diabetes is increasing rapidly. Today, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. One in four will develop diabetic retinopathy, which has become the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans, according to the announcement.

Ophthalmoscopy is the most prevalent examination method for diabetic retinopathy, which requires a person with diabetes to sit in a dark room so an eyecare professional can exam the back part of the eye through an ophthalmoscope. This traditional method requires prolonged and close contact between an individual and the eyecare professional, which makes it hard to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.