13th August 2018
Artificial intelligence tool ‘as good as experts’ at detecting eye problems
Machine-learning system can identify more than 50 different eye diseases and could speed up diagnosis and treatment
by Samuel Gibbs
A new machine-learning system is as good as the best human experts at detecting eye problems and referring patients for treatment, say scientists.
The groundbreaking artificial intelligence system, developed by the AI-outfit DeepMind with Moorfields eye hospital NHS foundation trust and University College London, was capable of correctly referring patients with more than 50 different eye diseases for further treatment with 94% accuracy, matching or beating world-leading eye specialists.
“The results of this pioneering research with DeepMind are very exciting and demonstrate the potential sight-saving impact AI could have for patients,” said Prof Sir Peng Tee Khaw, the director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields eye hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
The two-stage AI system takes a more human-like and intelligible approach to analysing the highly complex optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans of patient retinas. These are commonly used to triage patients with sight problems into four clinical categories: urgent, semi-urgent, routine and observation only.