Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but they’re a trove of information about the body, too. Through eye exams, ophthalmologists can detect all sorts of ailments, from high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, blindness-causing diabetic retinopathy, and more.
That’s prompting researchers to develop ways for doctors to more efficiently and accurately diagnose patient populations. Among those designing improved screening techniques: Jasem Almotiri ’18, a graduate student earning his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Bridgeport.
“I’m trying to improve diagnostic medical image processing because it is a difficult field. I want to connect engineering with medicine,” said Almotiri.
He’s well on his way.
Almotiri has debuted a medical imaging algorithm that can help ophthalmologists better diagnose patients. He began his research three years ago, focusing on retinas, extensions of the central nervous system that are chock full of valuable health data.
Almotiri’s algorithm works by creating separate and multiple images of an eye’s optic disc, vessels, and, when present, a secreted fluid known as exudate.
His approach is different from other screening techniques, which use multiple algorithms to produce a single image of the eye.
“It’s a hybrid approach,” Almotiri said. “Multiple images are more accurate and can give doctors a more integrated view of the eye, and using one algorithm instead of several is faster.”
Reaction to his research has been positive. In recent months, Almotiri has won top research awards at the American Society of Engineering Education North East Conference, at the IEEE (Institutes of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Applications and Technology Conference, and from the Connecticut Symposium on Microelectronics & Opthoelectronics. His research, entitled “A Multi-Anatomical Retinal Automatic Eye Screening Using Morphological Adaptive Fuzzy Thresholding,” also has been presented at engineering conferences.
Khaled Elleithy, associate dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education, advised Almotiri’s research. “Jasem has tremendously impressed me since he joined the University of Bridgeport,” Elleithy said. “His work is unique among related research and it can be considered ideal for real-life health problems diagnosis.”
Almotiri graduates from the University of Bridgeport in December 2018, but he said he plans to develop other medically useful algorithms when he returns to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to begin work as an assistant professor.
“It is so difficult to detect and extract multiple objects with one algorithm,” Almotiri said, “but I hope to create the methodology to make multiple segmentation a reality so doctors can screen other organs in the body, like the liver, heart, or the brain.”
Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, firstname.lastname@example.org