Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Ophthalmology

Yasser Ibraheem Abdullah, Joel S. Schuman, Ridwan Shabsigh, Arthur Caplan, Lama A. Al-Aswad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background:This review explores the bioethical implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine and in ophthalmology. AI, which was first introduced in the 1950s, is defined as "the machine simulation of human mental reasoning, decision making, and behavior". The increased power of computing, expansion of storage capacity, and compilation of medical big data helped the AI implementation surge in medical practice and research. Ophthalmology is a leading medical specialty in applying AI in screening, diagnosis, and treatment. The first Food and Drug Administration approved autonomous diagnostic system served to diagnose and classify diabetic retinopathy. Other ophthalmic conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, and congenital cataract, among others, implemented AI too.Purpose:To review the contemporary literature of the bioethical issues of AI in medicine and ophthalmology, classify ethical issues in medical AI, and suggest possible standardizations of ethical frameworks for AI implementation.Methods:Keywords were searched on Google Scholar and PubMed between October 2019 and April 2020. The results were reviewed, cross-referenced, and summarized. A total of 284 references including articles, books, book chapters, and regulatory reports and statements were reviewed, and those that were relevant were cited in the paper.Results:Most sources that studied the use of AI in medicine explored the ethical aspects. Bioethical challenges of AI implementation in medicine were categorized into 6 main categories. These include machine training ethics, machine accuracy ethics, patient-related ethics, physician-related ethics, shared ethics, and roles of regulators.Conclusions:There are multiple stakeholders in the ethical issues surrounding AI in medicine and ophthalmology. Attention to the various aspects of ethics related to AI is important especially with the expanding use of AI. Solutions of ethical problems are envisioned to be multifactorial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • algorithms
  • artificial intelligence
  • bioethics
  • deep learning
  • machine learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Ophthalmology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this