We perceive over 80% of external information through our eyes. It is inevitable that poor vision would degrade quality of life. Neuroscientists report that the eyes play a crucial role in brain-related disease, including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and autism. This would indicate that the organ that best represents the brain is the eye.
Even to the executives at B&VIIT Eye Center, who had studied eyes their entire lives, it continues to be an organ that is more mysterious and amazing, as it is further understood. We would like to share our knowledge, experience, and expertise on this considerably important organ. This is because if the knowledge of others could be added to that of ours, we can expect to take a step further in the advancement of medicine, and for vision correction surgeries to be safer and more precise.
Unfortunately, research associated with vision correction surgery is not very active. In South Korea, most research on vision correction surgery is led by private clinics. Since private clinics perform a lot more vision correction surgeries than major university hospitals surgeries, there are fewer research findings compared to the number of excellent surgical procedures performed. Moreover, there are fewer new recent study reports on vision correction surgery worldwide. As mentioned previously, this may be primarily attributed to technical advances in vision correction surgery and equipment that have been already achieved.
We expect AI to overcome such limitation, considering that the direction of advancement in vision correction has always focused on better visual acuity and safety. To achieve the goal of reducing pain, shortening recovery time, and allowing our patients to see the world with a clearer vision, our hospital has been collaborating with university hospitals in conducting various studies. Because of a wealth of surgical experience, we believe that conducting research and making investments represent the fundamental responsibilities and duties of an industry leader.
Vision correction surgery is not something that a skilled physician can perform alone. To ensure good postoperative outcomes, various tests need to be conducted diligently, while paying attention to the questions and concerns the patients have after their surgery. During surgery when everyone is highly focused, it is important that the surgeon and nurses have a considerable amount of coordination. Right from the optometrists who greets the patient and perform test, consultant at the call center, nurses, to marketers, all members of B&VIIT Eye Center have met the patients, while being armed with the latest information through constant study. We have always worked in unison to engage in research and discussions to identify the most scientific method. The data that we had collected and compiled became the foundation for the development of AI.
The concerns that we shared together have been included in this book, B&VIIT AI Report. We wanted to share why ophthalmologists decided to plunge into the development of AI, as well as our concerns and critical thoughts. Stories regarding our research into AI are inadequate to unravel these issue. Hence, we began the book with that story. We hope this will be the impetus for those involved in medicine and ophthalmology who share our concerns to deliberate more and deeper.
To unravel some of these concerns, current state of medical AI, its need and current level, as well as its limitations, potential, and value were discussed in this book. To expect AI to perceive things that humans cannot and level the the playing field of medical benefits, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the tool that we are attempting to use.
The central point of the book was to reveal what AI from B&VIIT is capable of, as well as discuss its potential and limitations, without holding anything back. We also wanted to emphasize on the importance of AI-based data.
We needed much help from many people to reach this point and publish a single book. Medi Whale, a start-up company that has contributed prominently in AI research, has been working together with us in conducting various AI studies, including the development of AI that can select surgical methods. As we conducted joint research with the team at KIST(Korea Institute of Science and Technology), led by Youngjun Kim, on AI that can accurately find surgical cost, we were amazed and proud to see AI that can identify the details of the experience that physicians have. Daehwan Ahn, who graduated from Seoul National University and is currently in Wharton School, joined us in researching AI algorithm that can predict expected postoperative visual acuity and was very generous in offering advice on the current level, potential, and limitations of current medical AI.
Professor Kwang Joon Kim from Yonsei University Health System shared deep concerns about the role of AI as a physician in this generation, while Professor Tyler Hyungtaek Rim, an ophthalmologist from the Department of Ophthalmology at Singapore Duke-NUS, shared his knowledge and potential of the role of AI in ophthalmology, along with the history of research into systemic diseases via the eyes. Jungtaek Kim, who is researching machine learning at Pohang University of Science and Technology, provided a clear summary of the concept of machine learning and it’s potential.
The fact checker who verified each factual detail and various study reports was Tae Keun Yoo, who studied robotics at Seoul National University and later became an ophthalmologist. Researching AI and organizing the process and concerns were made possible through all of the help from a large number of people from the operating theater to the research laboratory.
Although this book tells the story about AI from B&VIIT Eye Center, it actually provides much more information on medical AI. Medical advancement does not happen only by excellent research and techniques by a few people. It requires accumulation of research, time, and experimentation involving different people. Currently, although the research has been conducted within the medical community, AI research has become an opportunity to meet non-medical experts from various fields, including IT, management, and service industries. We aim to take a step forward into the future with all of these experts.
We move towards the future every day. When a day ends, the time spent during the day becomes a thing of the past; however, with that, the tomorrow, and thus the future, comes one step closer. We live looking forward into the future. Hospitals and medicine of the future must be safer and fairer than those available today. Based on the past and present, this book contains the stories, concerns, and actions that were crucial in helping us move forward toward the future. We sincerely hope that this will connect us to others who share similar concerns and actions and serve as an opportunity to be together with more people in the journey to build a better future.