Google DeepMind Health has recently announced a partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to utilize its technology to treat preventable eye diseases and help doctors spot disorders at an early stage when intervention is still possible. Google DeepMind has chosen Moorfields as it is the largest specialist eye hospital in the world, treating over 600,000 patients per year. This is more than any other specialist eye hospital in either the United States or Europe.

Because of its heavy volume of patients, Moorfields also performs more eye scans than any other hospital. Each eye scan can be time consuming to analyze, which means patients are often left waiting on their results. In the meantime, it is possible for their condition to worsen while waiting. In order to solve this problem, Google DeepMind is utilizing technology to eliminate the need for people to analyze the scans, instead programming a computer to do so in just a fraction of the time.

Moorfields will send 1 million sample patient scans to Google DeepMind so the computer can be trained to detect different ocular issues. Ophthalmologist Peng Tee Khaw said of the exciting technology:

“It takes me my whole life experience to follow one patient’s history. And yet patients rely on my experience to predict their future. If we could use machine-assisted deep learning, we could be so much better at doing this, because then I could have the experience of 10,000 lifetimes.” [1]

The machine will assist in detecting common problems like diabetic retinopathy, which can severely up your risk for becoming blind. Doctors say that if the technology can be “trained” well enough, they could reduce the risk of blindness by as much as 98 percent through early detection.

The machine will also be particularly useful in detecting early signs of macular degeneration. Currently, there are more than 350 million people suffering with diabetic retinopathy, and related blindness. Doctors hope that this new technology can give people a new lease on life and a chance at not losing their eyesight to something preventable. [2]

Sources:

[1] The Guardian

[2] Eweek


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Post written byAnna Scanlon:
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.