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IBM hopes AI can speed up glaucoma treatment

You wouldn't need multiple tests to gauge your visual abilities.
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Nastasic via Getty Images

A glaucoma diagnosis typically requires multiple painstaking tests to accurately gauge vision loss. If IBM has its way, though, you might just have to ask a computer to do the hard work. The company's research wing has used AI to discover retina imaging data that could be used to detect and manage glaucoma. A deep learning system estimates the visual field index (the degree of visual function) based on a single 3D scan of the optic nerve, giving an idea of how glaucoma has developed with greater accuracy than conventional tests.

While this is just laying the "groundwork" for technology that could manage glaucoma, IBM suggests that AI could play a role going forward. Machine learning has demonstrated that it's possible to predict the results of future vision tests, giving you an idea of how the glaucoma will evolve over time. Doctors could adjust treatments based on what's likely to come instead of making educated guesses. While it's no cure, it could ensure that patients spend less time wondering about their conditions and more time getting help.

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