Moorfields Eye Hospital have announced a new medical research partnership with Google’s DeepMind Health that could revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests and lead to earlier detection of common eye diseases.
Two million people are living with sight loss in the UK, of whom around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. At the moment, eye health professionals rely on digital scans of the eye to diagnose and determine the correct treatment for common eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
These scans are highly complex and to date, traditional analysis tools have been unable to explore them fully. It also takes eye health professionals a long time to analyse eye scans, which can have an impact on how quickly they can meet patients to discuss diagnosis and treatment.
The collaboration with Deepmind is investigating how technology could help to analyse eye scans, giving clinicians a better understanding of eye disease. The project will involve Moorfields sharing a set of one million anonymised eye scans with DeepMind, and some related anonymous information about eye condition and disease management, which Moorfields has collected over time through routine care. This means it’s not possible to identify any individual patients from the scans. They’re also historic scans, meaning that while the results of the research may be used to improve future care, they won’t affect the care any of the patients receive today.
Detect & Prevent
Moorfields hope this will lead to earlier detection and treatment for patients and ultimately help to avoid cases of preventable eye disease. Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, Director of the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said: “Our research with DeepMind has the potential to revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests and could lead to earlier detection and treatment of common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. With sight loss predicted to double by the year 2050 it is vital we explore the use of cutting-edge technology to prevent eye disease.”
Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, said: “We set up DeepMind because we wanted to use AI to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges, and diabetic retinopathy is the fastest growing cause of blindness worldwide. There are more than 350m sufferers across the planet. I’m really excited to announce this collaboration with leading researchers at Moorfields. Detecting eye diseases as early as possible gives patients the best possible chance of getting the right treatments. I really believe that one day this work will be a great benefit to patients across the NHS. We are proud of our NHS, and this is one of the ways I think we can help nurses and doctors continue to provide world-class care.”
For more information on the partnership, visit Moorfields’ DeepMind Q&A page