The system was built to detect age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that afflicts more than 25% of over-60s in Europe and up to 11 million people in the US.
[Read: This AI detects eye disease in newborn babies] Currently, Ophthalmologists diagnose AMD by analyzing 3D scans of the eye.
Developing the model The team trained their model on an anonymized dataset of retinal scans from 2,795 patients who had been diagnosed with wet AMD.
DeepMind claims that the system predicted the onset of wet AMD as well as human experts — and in some cases was even more accurate.
Pearse Keane, an ophthalmologist who worked on the project, said the system could act as an early warning sign for the disease: With this work, we haven’t solved AMD… but I think we’ve just added another big piece of the puzzle.