Background: In the development of artificial intelligence in ophthalmology, the ophthalmic AI-related recognition issues are prominent, but there is a lack of research into people's familiarity with and their attitudes toward ophthalmic AI. This survey aims to assess medical workers’ and other professional technicians’ familiarity with, attitudes toward, and concerns about AI in ophthalmology.
Methods: An electronic questionnaire was designed through the app Questionnaire Star, and was sent to participants through WeChat, China’s version of Facebook or WhatsApp. The participation was voluntary and anonymous. The questionnaire consisted of four parts, namely the participant’s background, their basic understanding of AI, their attitudes toward AI, and their concerns about AI. A total of 562 participants were counted, with 562 valid questionnaires returned. The results of the questionnaires are displayed in an Excel 2003 form.
Results: A total of 562 participants completed the questionnaire, of whom 291 were medical workers and 271 were other professional technicians. About 1/3 of the participants understood AI and ophthalmic AI. The percentages of people who understood ophthalmic AI among medical workers and other professional technicians were about 42.61% and 15.6%, respectively. About 66.01% of the participants thought that AI in ophthalmology would partly replace doctors, with about 59.07% still having a relatively high acceptance level of ophthalmic AI. Meanwhile, among those with AI in ophthalmology application experiences (30.6%), above 70% of participants held a full acceptance attitude toward AI in ophthalmology. The participants expressed medical ethics concerns about AI in ophthalmology. And among the participants who understood AI in ophthalmology, almost all the people said that there was a need to increase the study of medical ethics issues in the ophthalmic AI field.
Conclusions: The survey results revealed that the medical workers had a higher understanding level of AI in ophthalmology than other professional technicians, making it necessary to popularize ophthalmic AI education among other professional technicians. Most of the participants did not have any experience in ophthalmic AI but generally had a relatively high acceptance level of AI in ophthalmology, and there was a need to strengthen research into medical ethics issues of the field.