AI to aid early detection of AMD

An artificial intelligence project running across 12 institutions will explore the use of OCT in recognising the early signs of AMD

A close-up of the face of an elderly lady
Getty/Jeremy Poland

A project being supported by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast aims to “revolutionise” the care of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The project, named I-SCREEN, will develop an artificial intelligence (AI) programme in order to identify and monitor AMD in its earliest stages. The tool will be designed to be compatible with optical coherence tomography devices, supporting optometrists on the High Street to detect the condition and refer when required.

I-SCREEN will receive more than £4.7m(EUR) in funding across four years from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Pathfinder programme. Queen’s University Belfast is one of 12 institutions partnering on the project.

Dr Ruth Hogg, who is leading the project from the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, alongside researchers from Northern Ireland Clinical Research facility, will begin by recruiting patients with intermediate AMD, who they will follow for two years in order to identify the earliest stage of transition to late AMD.

This data will be used to help refine AI models that could be used in the community by High Street optometrists.

Commenting on the importance of the research project, Hogg said: “AMD poses a significant healthcare challenge, often slipping under the radar until severe vision loss occurs. The I-SCREEN project is dedicated to addressing this silent threat, leveraging AI and cloud technology, together with imaging devices and expertise within optometry, to make early AMD detection and treatment accessible to citizens from their local High Street.”

The I-SCREEN project has been established through the collaboration of a multidisciplinary network of clinical retina experts, computer scientists, community-based optometrists, and business specialists experienced in clinical decision support systems for ophthalmology.