UZ Leuven uses artificial intelligence to detect glaucoma

14/03/2018

Glaucoma is a dormant eye disease which can cause blindness. That's why UZ Leuven is currently developing a way to detect this disease much quicker using artificial intelligence (A.I.). Based on a large database consisting of numerous pictures of retinas, a software is being developed that can detect glaucoma in its early stages. +

Glaucoma causes fluids to build up in the eye ball, causing damage to the optic nerve. In early stages, this leads to a narrowing eyesight and eventually, when not treated, to blindness. While the disease is easy to stabilize, it is usually noticed in a stage where it's already too late. 

Artificial intelligence

© Rob Stevens

A faster diagnosis could offer patients a better treatment. That's why doctoral student Ruben Hemelings and prof. dr. Ingeborg Stalmans are looking into the role A.I. can have in a faster detection of glaucoma. "By using A.I., we can develop software capable of detecting glaucoma in an early stage and thus prevent blindness in the patient. Based off a large database containing pictures of retinas, the software analyses the characteristics of blood vessels in the retina and teach itself. The more images the software processes, the better the analysis' become." The first results are promising. On top of that, the software could be used in the future in places with a limited availability of medical experts. 

Free screening

International Glaucoma Week runs from 11 to 17 March, that's when members of the Belgian Glaucoma Society organise several screening campaigns on different locations in Belgium. On Thursday 15 March, a glaucoma screening will be held at UZ Leuven, campus Gasthuisberg. Everyone older than 40 can stop by at the platform in the reception hall for a free screening.