DeepMind’s AI can detect eye disease as accurately as world-leading doctors

System jointly-developed with Moorfields Eye Hospital can analyse 3D scans and recommend treatment within seconds

woman having eye scan

DeepMind has announced its artificial intelligence (AI) system can now diagnose sight-threatening eye conditions as accurately as the world's best clinicians.

Working with London-based Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL's Institute of Ophthalmology, the results of the preliminary research, published in Nature, can pave the way for the rollout of AI systems in hospitals across the country, the Alphabet subsidiary has said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The AI system aims to drastically reduce the time doctors spend studying thousands of optical coherence tomography (OCT) eye scans and can diagnose patients within seconds. Moreover, Moorfields Eye Hospital says the technology can recommend the best path of treatment for more than 50 diseases with 94% accuracy.

"The number of eye scans we're performing is growing at a pace much faster than human experts are able to interpret them," said Dr Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

"There is a risk that this may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening diseases, which can be devastating for patients. The AI technology we're developing is designed to prioritise patients who need to be seen and treated urgently by a doctor or eye care professional.

"If we can diagnose and treat eye conditions early, it gives us the best chance of saving people's sight. With further research, it could lead to greater consistency and quality of care for patients with eye problems in the future."

OCT scans produce a 3D map of the back of the eyes, which trained clinicians must manually examine to identify the key features of eye diseases and make a diagnosis. Conventionally, they have been challenging to interpret, and have proven time-consuming, but DeepMind says its technology can analyse these scans within seconds and make recommendations instantly.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Clinicians studied the same OCT scans that were fed into the DeepMind system and made independent recommendations to establish whether the AI was making correct referrals. The study concluded this technology was able to make the correct referral with a very high level of accuracy.

How a user interacts with DeepMind's OCT viewer

The AI system has also been structured in such a way as to avoid the "black box problem" - given how important it will be for clinical staff and patients to understand how these decisions are reached. The system, which operates using two neural networks, shows visuals of the eye disease it has identified, and the level of confidence it has in its recommendations as a percentage.

"While we're incredibly proud of this progress, this initial research would need to be turned into a product and then undergo rigorous clinical trials and regulatory approval before being used in practice," DeepMind said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"But we're confident that, in time, this system could transform the diagnosis, treatment and management of eye disease. Our partners at Moorfields want our research to help them improve care, reduce some of the strain on clinicians, and lower costs - all at the same time. So we've also worked hard on what comes next."

This milestone marks the end of the first phase of a partnership struck between Moorfields and DeepMind two years ago. DeepMind is hoping, following further research and approval, that its AI technology can be deployed in Moorfields' more than 30 UK hospitals and community clinics, serving 300,000 patients a year.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/28026/what-is-a-ddos-attack
Security

What is a DDoS attack?

8 Jul 2020
Visit/strategy/29089/six-benefits-of-hot-desking
Business strategy

The benefits of hot desking

28 May 2020
Visit/business-strategy/31780/the-it-pro-panel
Business strategy

The IT Pro Panel

25 May 2020
Visit/machine-learning/31708/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-ai
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

21 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/business/business-operations/356395/nvidia-overtakes-intel-as-most-valuable-us-chipmaker
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020