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10.1109_access.2021.3052477.pdf (2.39 MB)

DiaNet: A Deep Learning Based Architecture to Diagnose Diabetes Using Retinal Images Only

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-08-30, 07:02 and posted on 2023-09-24, 07:12 authored by Mohammad Tariqul Islam, Hamada R. H. Al-Absi, Essam A. Ruagh, Tanvir Alam

Diabetes is one of the leading fatal diseases globally, putting a huge burden on the global healthcare system. Early diagnosis of diabetes is hence, of utmost importance and could save many lives. However, current techniques to determine whether a person has diabetes or has the risk of developing diabetes are primarily reliant upon clinical biomarkers. In this article, we propose a novel deep learning architecture to predict if a person has diabetes or not from a photograph of his/her retina. Using a relatively small-sized dataset, we develop a multi-stage convolutional neural network (CNN)-based model DiaNet that can reach an accuracy level of over 84% on this task, and in doing so, successfully identifies the regions on the retina images that contribute to its decision-making process, as corroborated by the medical experts in the field. This is the first study that highlights the distinguishing capability of the retinal images for diabetes patients in the Qatari population to the best of our knowledge. Comparing the performance of DiaNet against the existing clinical data-based machine learning models, we conclude that the retinal images contain sufficient information to distinguish the Qatari diabetes cohort from the control group. In addition, our study reveals that retinal images may contain prognosis markers for diabetes and other comorbidities like hypertension and ischemic heart disease. The results led us to believe that the inclusion of retinal images into the clinical setup for the diagnosis of diabetes is warranted in the near future.

Other Information

Published in: IEEE Access
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU
  • Magrabi Qatar Hospitals & Centers
  • Magrabi Eye Dental and Ear Centre - MQHC