Explainable AI for retinal prostheses: Predicting electrode deactivation from routine clinical measures


To provide appropriate levels of stimulation, retinal prostheses must be calibrated to an individual9s perceptual thresholds (9system fitting9). Nonfunctional electrodes may then be deactivated to reduce power consumption and improve visual outcomes. However, thresholds vary drastically not just across electrodes but also over time, thus calling for a more flexible electrode deactivation strategy. Here we present an explainable artificiall intelligence (XAI) model fit on a large longitudinal dataset that can 1) predict at which point in time the manufacturer chose to deactivate an electrode as a function of routine clinical measures (9predictors9) and 2) reveal which of these predictors were most important. The model predicted electrode deactivation from clinical data with 60.8% accuracy. Performance increased to 75.3% with system fitting data, and to 84% when thresholds from follow-up examinations were available. The model further identified subject age and time since blindness onset as important predictors of electrode deactivation. An accurate XAI model of electrode deactivation that relies on routine clinical measures may benefit both the retinal implant and wider neuroprosthetics communities.

International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER) 2021