Age-related-macular-degeneration (AMD) is a very common cause of blindness. Unfortunately, doctors don’t know who will progress to the sight threatening stage of the disease. Some patients progress slowly or not at all and others quickly.
We can teach computers to analyse high resolution images of the inside of the eye. We have access to hundreds of thousands of such images from patients with AMD and patients who don’t have AMD. These images allow us to train computers to identify what eye changes appear in patients with AMD. Once the computers have learnt this, we expect they will identify new changes we haven’t thought of.
Using this approach we think we will be able to better predict which patients will progress. This should help us develop better treatments and enter the most appropriate patients into clinical trials. It should allow us to better understand why AMD develops.
We would like to image the eyes of 400 AMD patients regularly over a 3 year period. Using machine learning techniques, these images will be collated and used alongside existing images from previous studies and the UK Biobank to help develop a method of predicting disease development and progression in AMD. To assist with this, we would also like to take a blood sample for genetic testing in order to allow for any genetic factors that may affect the progression pathway.