How Artificial Intelligence help diagnose Glaucoma progression to blindness?
Technology today has undoubtedly reached at a level beyond imagination. Ever wondered that you can spot the early signs of progression of blindness 18 months earlier? Well, with the use Artificial Intelligence, researchers have devised a quick test that identifies which people with glaucoma are at risk for upcoming progression to blindness.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is omnipresent in everyday life. Also known as machine intelligence, pertain the capacity of a machine to imitate human intelligence. AI today helps in assisting the early diagnosis of glaucoma making sure the patient can be treated earlier before losing the sight.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness spreading rapidly all over. The important thing is, it cannot be fixed or reversed, so identifying glaucoma as early as possible helps saving the sight of patient. Unfortunately, the problem is that glaucoma is tough to diagnose in the early stages.
AI in Healthcare
The rapid evolution of technologies marked their footprints in almost all the sectors. Healthcare sector is in forefront using the high-end technologies to treat & cure diseases. AI, Big data, block chain are all the ways of gathering, storing and analyzing information. If the information is used effectively, it has the potential to rapidly speed up the progress in healthcare sector. Many Ophthalmologists have witnessed the power of AI algorithms that they can provide objective metrics from simple photographs and OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) as well as can recognize the amount of optic nerve damage in glaucoma.
How AI helps diagnosing glaucoma progression to blindness, check it here:
Glaucoma is the leading global cause of irreversible blindness which has affected over 60 Million people. Well, loss of sight in glaucoma is caused due to the death of cells present in the retina at the back of an eye. As per the sources, it is said that a new retina test can now detect glaucoma progression 18 months prior that the current standard method.
They say, “Being able to diagnose glaucoma at the very first stage, and predict its progression could certainly help people to maintain their sight and the treatment could be more successful if it is provided at an early stage of disease.”
The simple test called DARC (Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells) is conducted for the patient. It includes injection of a fluorescent dye into the bloodstream via the arms which gets attached to retinal cells, and illuminates those that are in the process of apoptosis.
FYI: Apoptosis– A programmed cell death sequence that leads to elimination of cells without releasing any harmful substances into the surrounding area. Apoptosis plays a significant role in developing and maintaining the health of the body by eliminating old, unnecessary and unhealthy cells.
In the DARC test, the damaged cells appear bright white when viewed in eye examinations. Whereas, the more damage cells, the higher is the DARC count.
The interesting part is, the specialists often disagrees the sign of glaucoma while viewing the same scans. So the researchers have introduced an AI algorithm into their method.
How the AI Algorithm works?
In the clinical trials of DARC, the AI was used to examine 60 case studies – 20 with Glaucoma patients and 40 with healthy participants.
Initially the AI was trained by analyzing the retinal scans of 40 healthy participants after injecting the dye.
Then the AI was tested on the glaucoma patients.
The patients were called for the follow-up after 18 months after the main trial period.
After 18 months, the researchers were able to predict progressive glaucomatous damage with complete accuracy as every patient with a DARC count over a certain limit was found to have a progressive glaucoma at the time of second follow-up.
“The results are promising as they show DARC can certainly be used as a biomarker when used in combination with AI-aided algorithm” said by the lead researcher from University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology.
So now, there is no need to worry about losing the sight as AI is ready to help diagnosing glaucoma progression to blindness at very early stage.
Bibliography:AI can spot glaucoma that can lead to blindness: Here's how