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Current Affairs

Artificial Intelligence can aid eye testing

Date: 30 March 2020 Tags: Fourth Industrial Revolution


Artificial Intelligence has been used in a hi-tech screening tool developed by Google and an international team of researchers for detecting diabetic retinopathy a diabetic complication in the eye.



Diabetic patients are normally asymptomatic when the eye is concerned until the late stages or advanced stage when treatment is difficult or not so effective. So it is important to find the patient at an early stage and help prevent loss of vision.



  • A study, which screened over 3,000 patients with diabetes, has shown that the AI’s performance exceeded the conventionally used manual grading method used to identify diabetic retinopathy . The AI had a specificity and sensitivity of around 90%.

  • A specialised retinal fundus camera was used to take photos of the eye. Normally,  to evaluate the retina, we dilate the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye and illuminate the back of the eye.

  •  But in this fundus photography it is not necessary as a coherent beam of light can enter the small gap (Pupil) and take an image in just two to three minutes.

  • Once the images are taken, it is fed into the computer and the AI tool screens it for diabetic retinopathy. The AI tool was shown over 120,000 images of the retina and taught to identify what each lesion meant.

  • It was also taught to grade the severity (none, mild, moderate, severe or proliferative) and give an instant report along with the recommendations.

  • Beyond diabetic retinopathy researchers are also working on a number of other research projects using AI to tackle healthcare problems. 

  • Earlier, a research paper had showed that AI models can help detect breast cancer in mammography images more accurately than doctors.This research is still in the early stages, but it shows that AI can be a path forward to improve screenings for breast cancer and boost the chances of survival.


Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.