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Artificial intelligence as good as experts at detecting eye diseases

16 August 2018

This week news surfaced of an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, DeepMind Health and University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology, which can recommend the correct referral decision for over 50 eye diseases. The AI system can recommend the correct referral decision with 94% accuracy, which matches the referral rate of world-leading eye experts.

This breakthrough research could help prioritise patients who need urgent treatment and be the first in a new wave of AI led developments which will help doctors around the world. The research has been published in a paper by Nature Medicine (‘Clinically applicable deep learning for diagnosis and referral in retinal disease’), and is available online at the following link –

Professor Andrew Lotery, Chair of the Scientific Committee, welcomed this research:

This paper shows the power of utilizing artificial intelligence in ophthalmology. Innovative research such as this could help hospital eye services manage their clinics more effectively in the future.”

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists welcomes cutting edge research and innovation, with a great deal of attention being devoted to this area by the College’s Scientific and Academic Sub-Committees, as well as through work with the National Institute for Health Research. The College also recently launched its online Research Hub, which provides information for ophthalmologists looking to get involved with or find out more about research.

Too often research and innovation projects go unreported, and we would like to ask our members to share innovative developments with the College so we can shine a spotlight on their valuable work. Get in touch at