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BackgroundDeep learning has been widely used for glaucoma diagnosis. However, there is no clinically validated algorithm for glaucoma incidence and progression prediction. This study aims to develop a clinically feasible deep-learning system for predicting and stratifying the risk of glaucoma onset and progression based on color fundus photographs (CFPs), with clinical validation of performance in external population cohorts.MethodsWe established data sets of CFPs and visual fields collected from longitudinal cohorts. The mean follow-up duration was 3 to 5 years across the data sets. Artificial intelligence (AI) models were developed to predict future glaucoma incidence and progression based on the CFPs of 17,497 eyes in 9346 patients. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve, sensitivity, and specificity of the AI models were calculated with reference to the labels provided by experienced ophthalmologists. Incidence and progression of glaucoma were determined based on longitudinal CFP images or visual fields, respectively.ResultsThe AI model to predict glaucoma incidence achieved an AUROC of 0.90 (0.81-0.99) in the validation set and demonstrated good generalizability, with AUROCs of 0.89 (0.83-0.95) and 0.88 (0.79-0.97) in external test sets 1 and 2, respectively. The AI model to predict glaucoma progression achieved an AUROC of 0.91 (0.88-0.94) in the validation set, and also demonstrated outstanding predictive performance with AUROCs of 0.87 (0.81-0.92) and 0.88 (0.83-0.94) in external test sets 1 and 2, respectively.ConclusionOur study demonstrates the feasibility of deep-learning algorithms in the early detection and prediction of glaucoma progression.FUNDINGNational Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC); the High-level Hospital Construction Project, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University; the Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou, China (2021), the Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) of Macau, and FDCT-NSFC.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Invest

Publication Date





Ophthalmology, Translation