Google’s DeepMind AI business unit is hoping to teach computers to diagnose eye disease, using patient data from a U.K. hospital.
Using deep learning techniques, DeepMind hopes to improve diagnosis of two eye conditions: age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, both of which can lead to sight loss. If these conditions are detected early enough, patients’ sight can be saved.
One way doctors look for signs of these diseases is by examining the interior of the eye, opposite the lens, an area called the fundus. They can do this either directly, with an ophthalmoscope, or by taking a digital fundus scan. Another diagnostic technique is to take a non-invasive three-dimensional scan of the retina using process called optical coherence tomography (OCT).