Iowa City-based IDx, an artificial intelligence diagnostics company working on a system to detect a leading cause of blindness, has won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for expedited review. IDx-DR uses AI to check for diabetic retinopathy. The FDA ruled the system is a “breakthrough device” that qualifies for expedited review. That designation is applied to devices that “provide for more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases.” The company claims IDx-DR would be the first system of its kind to use AI-based diagnostics widely in health care. “The FDA’s designation of IDx-DR as a ‘breakthrough device’ confirms what we have believed for a long time,” Dr. Michael Abràmoff, founder and president of IDx, said in a statement. “The healthcare system desperately needs a more efficient and cost-effective way to detect diabetic retinopathy. Too many patients go blind needlessly because they aren’t diagnosed in time.”