Google's Deep Learning Algorithm Is Already Better at Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy than Many Physicians




One of the major breakthroughs in Health Care and Artificial Intelligence world happened recently when Google successfully trained a Neural Network with 120,000 retinal images to detect diabetic retinopathy.

Generally speaking, Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common causes of increasing cases of blindness in the world. Studies reveal that high blood sugar level can damage the retinal blood vessels that can further cause irreversible blindness. Hence, early detection of this disease was need of the hour. But the sad fact is that physicians were not able to recognize the symptoms at an early stage. Hence, Google decided to use Machine Learning algorithms to solve this trouble. The major target was to identify disease symptoms before they cross the critical boundaries so that an early diagnosis can be carried out.

Google trained a convolution neural network for image classification and to achieve the top accuracy they used a huge set of sample data. The training dataset contained 128175 retinal images collected from EyePACS in the US and three different eye hospitals of India. These images were graded by 3-7 licensed ophthalmologists. After training the Deep Learning Neural Network, two validation tests were performed. The first test was performed with 9963 images collected from EyePACS and the second dataset of 1748 images was taken from Messidor-2. The performance of this machine learning algorithm was later compared with the ophthalmologists and the results were observed to be quite efficient.

The scientists at Google targeted two parameters for this application, they were sensitivity and specificity. The ultimate results after training provide around 96-97% sensitivity and 93% specificity.These results show that artificial intelligence suggests a way to utilize medical solutions in the much creative way. Deep learning is a bright concept for the world of technologies as it can ensure early detection of diseases so that vision of the person can be saved on time. This revolutionary research shows that AI can perform much better as compared to most eye pathologists. Moreover, most corners of the world don’t even have experienced medical health professionals to treat patients, in such situation; the automatic detection is a great solution for people suffering from various diseases. The great news is that ability of Deep Learning is not just limited to detect DR rather it can show impactful results for many other medical health issues as well.