[AI] Test To Spot Early Glaucoma Signs

shahnaz shycurrim at yahoo.co.in
Sat Mar 8 03:46:14 EST 2008


BBC NEWS | Health | Test to spot early glaucoma signs
BBC NEWS
Test to spot early glaucoma signs

Computer software to spot signs of glaucoma earlier
than conventional tests is being developed by UK
experts.
The team at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital say the
test has the potential to prevent many patients going
blind.
Diagnosing glaucoma can be difficult, as patients are
often not aware of symptoms until a great deal of
useful sight has been permanently destroyed.
It is estimated glaucoma affects 67m people
worldwide, including 500,000 in the UK - but only half
are diagnosed.

AT RISK OF GLAUCOMA
People with a positive family history of the disease
People over 40 years old, with risk continuing to
rise with age
People of West African origin

This has led to glaucoma being dubbed the "silent
blinding disease".
It is estimated that if just 10% of UK glaucoma cases
were detected and treated earlier it could save up to
£1bn a year.
If diagnosed in time, the condition can be easily
treated with eye drops.
The condition causes damage to the optic nerve which
carries visual information from the eye to the brain.
Over the internet
The Moorfields Motion Detection Test (MDT) is
designed to assess the field of vision.

This is a valuable step forward
Steve Winyard RNIB

The software can be downloaded to a laptop computer,
and eventually it is hoped to make it available
directly from the internet.
A central white spot and several white lines are
displayed on a grey screen.
The patient is asked to look steadily at the central
spot and to press the computer mouse each time one of
the lines is seen to move.
The lines move at the same speed but move different
distances as the test proceeds, meaning experts can
detect the degree of visual loss.
Moorfields say the test is affordable, portable,
quick - and has the potential to spot glaucoma earlier
than conventional tests, and with greater accuracy.
Professor Vis Viswanathan, a consultant surgeon in
glaucoma at Moorfields who developed the system, said
conventional tests - which concentrate on the ability
to see light - fail to pick up a patient's ability to
detect movement.
However, the ability to perceive motion is one of the
first things to vanish in people suffering glaucoma.
He said: "A better test would be based on the ability
to perceive motion and that is how this test came
about.
"In general terms, if somebody is perceiving very
small amounts of motion, they are in pretty good
shape."
Steve Winyard, from the RNIB, said current tests
often inaccurately diagnosed a problem in people who
did not have glaucoma. He said the new test promised
to be more accurate.
"This is a valuable step forward," he said.
Raise awareness
>From April, clinics in Toronto, Rome, Africa and
Singapore will be testing the software with the aim of
independently verifying how effective it is.
Next year, researchers hope to be able to secure
funding to roll out the software across the UK.
The first World Glaucoma Day is being held on
Thursday to raise awareness of the condition.
Professor Peng Tee Khaw, a consultant ophthalmologist
at Moorfields, said: "By the time people come to us
they have often lost a lot of their sight and the
damage is permanent.
"If we could pick these people up at an earlier stage
it would make a tremendous difference to their lives."


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