A new diagnostic tool named Eyeagnois has been created by Kavya Kopparape who happens to be a junior in high school, a girl and it turns out, a genious in computer science. The purpose of the device was to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. It damages blood vessel in the retina and can be prevented if caught in its early stages but more than 50 percent of all cases go unnoticed.
Currently the diagnosis tool is to identify DR with a 2-hour exam requiring a fancy, multi-thousand dollar retinal imager. In its place, Kopparape and her team, including her 15-year-old-brother and her high school classmate, trained an artificial intelligence system to recognize signs of diabetic retinopathy in photos of eyes. Simply put, Eyeagnosis is a smartphone app that can screen for the disease with the help of a specially trained artificial intelligence program and a simple 3D-printed lens attachment.
Her motivation for Eyeagnois lies with her grandfather who lives in a small city on India’s eastern coast and had been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. But sadly, only after he lost a considerable amount of vision.
The statistics are alarming. Of 415 million diabetics worldwide, one-third will develop diabetic retinopathy. Fifty percent will be undiagnosed. Of patients with severe forms, half will go blind in five years. Most will be poor.
Kopparape and her team presented the system at the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence conference, in New York City, last month. “The device is ideal for making screening much more efficient and available to a broader population,” says J. Fielding Hejtmancik, an expert in visual diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The expert also said “that there’s a long road to clinical adoption. “What she’s going to need is a lot of clinical data showing that Eyeagnosis is reliable under a variety of situations: in eye hospitals, in the countryside, in clinics out in the boonies of India,”
What did you do the summer before your senior year in high school?