In the future, an AI may diagnose eye problems | Science News

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In the future, an AI may diagnose eye problems

New technology aims to speed medical care in places where specialists are scarce

By
8:00am, March 4, 2018
eye diagram

AI, M.D. New AI programs coming down the pipeline can examine eye images to diagnose blinding diseases and potentially other health problems.

The computer will see you now.

Artificial intelligence algorithms may soon bring the diagnostic know-how of an eye doctor to primary care offices and walk-in clinics, speeding up the detection of health problems and the start of treatment, especially in areas where specialized doctors are scarce. The first such program — trained to spot symptoms of diabetes-related vision loss in eye images — is pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

While other already approved AI programs help doctors examine medical images, there’s “not a specialist looking over the shoulder of [this] algorithm,” says Michael Abràmoff, who founded and heads a company that developed the system under FDA review, dubbed IDx-DR. “It makes the clinical decision on its own.”

IDx-DR and similar AI programs, which are learning to predict everything from age-related sight loss to heart problems just by looking at eye images, don’t follow

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