Your eyes in the safe hands of an Artificial Intelligence What if 80% of all blindness could be prevented thanks to RetinaLyze?
How to foresee who is exposed to blindness? How to look into the future and predict who is in danger of diabetic retinopathy? We have only two eyes, which are our front window of the complicated perception machine and database, called the brain. When we are close to losing the sight, we suddenly realise, that the world as we know it, disappears. Not like in the case of 10 fingers, when we lose one, we still live on. How can we make sure that our brain windows are taken care of?
Text: Żaneta Geltz
One out of three people having diabetes will develop Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). The illness is very sneaky, for a long time of its development you will not recognise any symptoms. Suddenly, the condition gets much worse and you gradually lose the ability to read. The only solution is a laser operation, if we came not too late. When this happens, we regret that we did nothing earlier, when we still had more options.
We tend to think that Artificial Intelligence is a soulless robot with cold hands and metallic touch. Only people who create the algorithms like Google searching engine or marketing automation techniques (following our preferences after our online choices) they know that it is not actually it is not an alien spying on us to see the needs we have and learn what we like, but it is a huge line of coding, knowledge of talented IT designers, who transform the collected data into certain results, “patterns”, or programs. The specially designed algorithm is ready for automatic analysis of gathered data and is capable of helping humankind.
I ask Peter Jorgensen from Denmark about automated tool supporting millions of people who decide to take care of their future health, called RetinaLyze.
Some call it Artificial Intelligence supporting man’s work, and others name it a solution designed to uncover early stages of human eye diseases. RetinaLyze is comprised of three algorithms to make screening for Diabetic Retinopathy, Age-related Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma.
According to WHO “increase of diabetes among many population groups has caused diabetic retinopathy to be added to the priority list, while glaucoma, an eye disease known for centuries, remains on the public health agenda due to difficulties in its early diagnosis and frequent necessity of life-long treatment. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) ranks third among the global causes of visual impairment with a blindness prevalence of 8,7%. It is the primary cause of visual deficiency in industrialized countries. [www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en]
Now with the patented algorithms from Denmark, thousands of optic stores can add these three positions to their offer and test anyone within minutes. Results are available not within a week, or a day, but in 30 seconds! Patients don’t have to wait for bad news or waste weeks and months queuing for an ophthalmologist whose time is at shortage, and risk losing sight. But they can enter a store where you usually select new glasses and use Artificial Intelligence operated by an optometrist. Easy and accessible!” – says Peter Jorgensen, representing RetinaLyze Nordic.
Automated screening is possible for people:
- 16+ for DR
- 40+ for Glaucoma
- 45+ for AMD
and the algorithm should not be used to confirm the presence of earlier diagnosed patients, but to screen people who have no idea they might be ill. This how RetinaLyze has been designed to process high volumes at a very reasonable cost.
Out of hundreds of thousands screened people, thousands (around 4%) learn they need to go to a specialist for further medical tests and treatments. These individuals are the ones that make the Artificial Intelligence designing worth the effort. These people learn about very early stages of various diseases and gain a chance to prevent a serious condition, sometimes even losing sight.
In the spreadsheet below we can see what a wide spectrum of illnesses was found in the second stage of treating the patients, screened “accidentally” in the optic store chain in Denmark within some period. These people did not recognise any signs of a disease to be motivated to make an appointment in the medical clinic. So, easy access and low cost of screening makes it attractive enough to choose it within minutes, passing by between the boutiques selling shoes and jewellery.
Having the message sent through to a patient, we create a chance for changing the lifestyle and eating habits, also to include recommended pharmacology, so the person is not even heading for problems that might be exposed to, if failed to decide for a screening. The health issue becomes important to the person, because everybody wants to avoid a bigger fire if possible.
In the communities and countries, where people eat a lot of sweets, fast food and run less healthy lifestyle, developing diseases is predictable. It is estimated that within years the number of diabetic patients will grow by 100% (reaching 1,8 billion by 2025). Whereas number of ophtalmologists will evolve by 2% within the same period, so there is already now a serious shortage of specialists to be able to process the predicted number of necessary visits/treatments. And all diagnosed diabetic patients have to go to an ophtalmologist once per year, every year.
What is diabetes type 2?
The body can't use glucose to provide energy and tries to get it from elsewhere and starts to break down stocks of fat and protein instead. Because the body doesn’t use the glucose, finally it ends up passing it into the urine. Nobody knows for sure why these insulin-producing cells have been destroyed, but the most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. This may be triggered by unhealthy lifestyle, a virus or other infections.
Normally, we use our body as much as we can and as long as it works. We don’t think so much what will happen in future, so we eat sweets because we love them, we consume too much, because we can afford it, or we happen to get our meals in a rush. We tend to think that we don’t have time for having a dog, because it needs walking out everyday, so we give up any type of movement. Suddenly, when we hear the verdict about the diabetes, like hundreds of other millions of people, we can excuse ourselves by commenting, that “It happens at this age, it’s a pity”.
And we live further, controlling our sugar, taking pills, slightly changing consumption, serving healthier meals. Until the day our ophthalmologist says that the risk of losing sight is high and there is not so much we can do about it, because it is too late. The day of a final verdict is the moment when we start to care. This Danish algorithm is to awake our care years back and start healthy lifestyle earlier, before the illness makes us unrecoverable.
Early diagnosis is crucial
285 million people across the world are visually impaired. Many people who are visually impaired face a lifetime of inequality, as they often have poorer health and face barriers to education and employment. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that 80% of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured. – says Robert Birch, the owner of the RetinaLyze patent.
Danish ophthalmologists who were not so happy with the algorithm at the beginning, are now ready to cooperate - to ensure that no serious conditions are overlooked and to prevent too many unnecessary consultations in the eye clinics - where waiting periods are already very long.
Having in mind Western diet, which is unfortunately spreading to other countries (like China), where more and more unhealthy habits are being adopted, we have to be prepared to face a "tsunami wave" of eye diseases, resulting from disastrous health consequences of fast-food and too much sweets on a plate.
 RetinaLyze algorithm is a technological tool available since 2013, which is represented in 35 countries all over the world. Any country can join and run 30-days free demo screening. Write here to order cost free test: email@example.com