Health New insight into diabetic eye disease shines light on a brighter future

New insight into diabetic eye disease shines light on a brighter future

A new tool to spot diabetic eye disease in its early stages could prevent thousands of people from losing their sight.

Diabetic eye disease is one of the top causes of blindness, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Because it has no early-stage symptoms, the incurable disease may already be well advanced before vision is affected. But with early detection, diabetics have hope of saving some of their sight.

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, a team of Australian-Brazilian researchers led by RMIT University have developed an algorithm that delivers an instant diagnosis with an accurate of 98 per cent.

Better still, the scans can be done with regular optometry equipment — replacing the need for expensive and invasive processes.

Lead investigator Professor Dinesh Kant Kumar said many diabetics do not get regular eye exams and many more do not even know they have the condition.

“For every single person in Australia who knows they have diabetes, another is living with diabetes but isn’t diagnosed,” Professor Kumar said.

“This results in millions of people developing preventable and treatable complications from diabetes-related diseases. With further development, our technology has the potential to reduce that burden.”

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