Any ophthalmologist will tell you that most eye conditions leave some kind of visible sign that can be picked up in a photo or a 3D scan, and now Google-owned DeepMind has created an AI that's able to seek out those signs and diagnose over 50 different eye conditions at a level rivaling a trained professional. AI have traditionally had issues with 3D imagery, eye scans included, but DeepMind has devised a new training and verification method that uses a data set under 15,000 samples strong and can look through 3D scans without any problems, allowing the AI to help diagnose and discern patient scans that bear internal conditions like optic nerve hypoplasia and macular degeneration.
The rub with this new AI tool is that it's able to do all of this on any machine strong enough to run it, and it does not need extensive training like most AI programs of this sort. This makes the tool extremely accessible and easy to use, which means that it can spread wider and benefit more eye doctors, and thus more patients, than it otherwise would. To add to the AI's ease of use, it can explain its findings in clear language to doctors so that they can ensure the machine hasn't made an error before beginning treatment.
This news is a very big deal for the global medical community. The world's population is aging, and many clinics are reporting doing more eye exams than ever before. The end result of all of this is that the number of eye exams needed is far outclassing the time that can collectively be devoted by qualified professionals to interpret them, which means that patients are left with untreated conditions for longer. That, of course, can have very severe consequences. This new AI program can help clinicians to sort through the larger volumes of eye scans with ease, moving patients through the process faster and helping to ensure that no patient will have to experience an unnecessary delay in treating any sight-threatening eye disorders. AI in the medical field usually falls along these lines, and has yet to make a mass move into treatment. This means, for now, doctors and AI will be working in tandem.