Moorfields share eye scans for DeepMind’s machine learning project

Moorfields Eye Hosptial is to share one million anonymised eye scans with DeepMind in a bid to develop machine learning techniques that will detect common eye diseases.

The London hospital estimates that two million people are living with sight loss in the UK, with around 360,000 registered as blind or partially sighted.

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Eye health professionals currently 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. Analysing syescans is also time consuming, which has a negative impact on how quickly eye health professionals can discuss diagnosis and treatment with patients.

The project will involve Moorfields sharing eye scans with DeepMind, and some related anonymous information about eye condition and disease management, which Moorfields has collected over time.

Prof 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: “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 [artificial intelligence] to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges, and diabetic retinopathy is the fastest growing cause of blindness worldwide. There are more than 350 million 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.”

DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman in London, 2010 and acquired by Google in early 2014.