Google DeepMind Using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Prevent Sight Loss

Artificial IntelligenceGoogle acquired DeepMind in 2014 to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence in applications that could change human lives. DeepMind just announced a medical research project with an NHS Trust to combat sight loss specifically related to Diabetes and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).


As per DeepMind:

Diabetes is on the rise. It’s estimated that 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population are affected. It’s also the leading cause of blindness in the working age population – if you’re diabetic you are 25 times more likely to suffer some kind of sight loss. Early detection and treatment can prevent 98% of severe visual loss resulting from diabetes – but that doesn’t always happen.


Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the commonest cause of blindness in the UK. Every single day – in the UK alone – nearly 200 people lose sight from the severe, blinding form of this condition and globally the number of people with AMD is set to rise to nearly 200m by 2020. By allowing earlier detection and treatment of AMD, machine learning has the potential to help save the sight of many of these people.

moorfieldsScreen Shot 2016-07-07 at 1.54.16 PMGoogle and DeepMind will be working with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, one of the world’s leading eye hospitals with a 200 year track record in clinical care, research and education. Moorfields Eye Hospital is a specialist NHS eye hospital in London, England run by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Together with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, which is adjacent to the hospital, it is the oldest and largest centre for ophthalmic treatment, teaching and research in Europe.

latest bannerTraditional eye scans called Optical Coherence tomography(OCT) are complex and time consuming and current computational technologies are unable to dive deep into understanding what’s wrong with the eye. Google and DeepMind jointly can apply deep analytics and diagnose issues quickly. In collaboration with NHS, the companies can develop algorithms that are capable of learning for themselves directly from raw experience or data and investigate how machine learning could help analyze these scans efficiently and effectively, leading to earlier detection and intervention for patients and reducing the number of cases of patient deterioration.

Below is a video on Moorfields and DeepMind partnership featuring Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw and consultant consultant ophthalmologist Pearse Keane.

Google is perhaps one of the only few companies globally that can put the right attention, technology and skill-set to solve such global health problems. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are evolving technologies that could reveal extremely useful big data insights. Overall, a very exciting move from technology and humanity angles.

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