Artificial Intelligence in Cornea, Refractive Surgery, and Cataract: Basic Principles, Clinical Applications, and Future Directions

Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2021 Jul 1;10(3):268-281. doi: 10.1097/APO.0000000000000394.


Corneal diseases, uncorrected refractive errors, and cataract represent the major causes of blindness globally. The number of refractive surgeries, either cornea- or lens-based, is also on the rise as the demand for perfect vision continues to increase. With the recent advancement and potential promises of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies demonstrated in the realm of ophthalmology, particularly retinal diseases and glaucoma, AI researchers and clinicians are now channeling their focus toward the less explored ophthalmic areas related to the anterior segment of the eye. Conditions that rely on anterior segment imaging modalities, including slit-lamp photography, anterior segment optical coherence tomography, corneal tomography, in vivo confocal microscopy and/or optical biometers, are the most commonly explored areas. These include infectious keratitis, keratoconus, corneal grafts, ocular surface pathologies, preoperative screening before refractive surgery, intraocular lens calculation, and automated refraction, among others. In this review, we aimed to provide a comprehensive update on the utilization of AI in anterior segment diseases, with particular emphasis on the recent advancement in the past few years. In addition, we demystify some of the basic principles and terminologies related to AI, particularly machine learning and deep learning, to help improve the understanding, research and clinical implementation of these AI technologies among the ophthalmologists and vision scientists. As we march toward the era of digital health, guidelines such as CONSORT-AI, SPIRIT-AI, and STARD-AI will play crucial roles in guiding and standardizing the conduct and reporting of AI-related trials, ultimately promoting their potential for clinical translation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cataract*
  • Cornea / surgery
  • Humans
  • Keratoconus
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Refractive Surgical Procedures*