Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Medical artificial intelligence (AI) offers great potential for recognizing signs of health conditions in retinal images and expediting the diagnosis of eye diseases and systemic disorders1. However, the development of AI models requires substantial annotation and models are usually task-specific with limited generalizability to different clinical applications2. Here, we present RETFound, a foundation model for retinal images that learns generalizable representations from unlabelled retinal images and provides a basis for label-efficient model adaptation in several applications. Specifically, RETFound is trained on 1.6 million unlabelled retinal images by means of self-supervised learning and then adapted to disease detection tasks with explicit labels. We show that adapted RETFound consistently outperforms several comparison models in the diagnosis and prognosis of sight-threatening eye diseases, as well as incident prediction of complex systemic disorders such as heart failure and myocardial infarction with fewer labelled data. RETFound provides a generalizable solution to improve model performance and alleviate the annotation workload of experts to enable broad clinical AI applications from retinal imaging.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date