Ophthalmology Society Awards 

In a remarkable achievement, a research team including Daniel Simões Lopes, a researcher at the Interactive Technologies Institute and a Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, has been honoured with two prestigious awards during the 66th Congress of the Portuguese Society of Ophthalmology. Their accomplishments, the Novartis Award and the Clinical Research Fellowship were presented to the team in recognition of their groundbreaking work in the field of ophthalmology.

Alongside Daniel Simões Lopes, the winning team includes Diogo Cabral and Pedro Carreira, Ophthalmologists at Hospital Garcia de Horta, João Salgueiro, an alumnus of Instituto Superior Técnico and João Afonso, a Master’s student in Biomedical Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico

The team received the Novartis Award for the Best Retina presentation during the congress, earning a prize of €2,000. The award ceremony took place on December 2023, during the closing session of the congress held in Vilamoura, Portugal.  

The team’s award-winning project focuses on automatically detecting Choroidal Hyperpermeability using machine learning strategies. Choroidal Hyperpermeability is a critical hallmark of Central Serous Chorioretinopathy, a retinal disorder that can impair vision. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, the researchers developed a pipeline for the automatic detection of Choroidal Hyperpermeability and a tool for generating choroidal thickness maps using non-invasive optical coherence tomography scans. The project’s main contribution lies in advancing the understanding of the relationship between Choroidal Hyperpermeability and areas of choroidal thickening, aiding physicians in diagnosing Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. 

In addition to the Novartis Award, the research team was granted the Clinical Research Fellowship. This fellowship aims to provide financial and structural support for clinical research projects in collaboration with national ophthalmic centres. The team’s selected project focuses on precisely identifying hereditary retinal diseases using Optical Coherence Tomography and artificial intelligence techniques.  

The project proposes training a computer to differentiate between two common hereditary retinal diseases—those associated with the mutation of the ABCA4 gene and the PRPH2 gene. The collaboration spans national institutions, including the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra and the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, as well as international cooperation with the University of New York.