Google Successfully Explores Machine Learning To Detect Diabetic Eye Disease

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Diabetic Retinopathy is a dangerous disease. If left undetected and untreated, patients can go blind. But the good news is, Google has been trying its machine learning expertise to help doctors identify patients at risk of the disease to be able to treat them effectively, and they have found some success.

“A few years ago, a Google research team began studying whether machine learning could be used to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Today, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we’ve published our results: a deep learning algorithm capable of interpreting signs of DR in retinal photographs, potentially helping doctors screen more patients, especially in underserved communities with limited resources”, says Lily Peng MD PhD, Product Manager, Google.

She further explains,

“the results show that our algorithm’s performance is on-par with that of ophthalmologists. For example, on the validation set described in Figure 2, the algorithm has a F-score (combined sensitivity and specificity metric, with max=1) of 0.95, which is slightly better than the median F-score of the 8 ophthalmologists we consulted (measured at 0.91)”.

Figure 1. Examples of retinal fundus photographs that are taken to screen for DR. The image on the left is of a healthy retina (A), whereas the image on the right is a retina with referable diabetic retinopathy (B) due a number of hemorrhages (red spots) present. Source: Google
Figure 1. Examples of retinal fundus photographs that are taken to screen for DR. The image on the left is of a healthy retina (A), whereas the image on the right is a retina with referable diabetic retinopathy (B) due a number of hemorrhages (red spots) present. Source: Google

The point to be noted is, Google has found the cure for the disease, however, it has developed the ability to better detect eye issues.

If you can read more about the research here.

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