The Check Up: our latest health AI developments

Smartphone cameras’ potential to protect cardiovascular health and preserve eyesight

One of our earliest Health AI projects, ARDA, aims to help address screenings for diabetic retinopathy — a complication of diabetes that, if undiagnosed and untreated, can cause blindness.

Today, we screen 350 patients daily, resulting in close to 100,000 patients screened to date. We recently completed a prospective study with the Thailand national screening program that further shows ARDA is accurate and capable of being deployed safely across multiple regions to support more accessible eye screenings.

In addition to diabetic eye disease, we’ve previously also shown how photos of eyes’ interiors (or fundus) can reveal cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, with assistance from deep learning. Our recent research tackles detecting diabetes-related diseases from photos of the exterior of the eye, using existing tabletop cameras in clinics. Given the early promising results, we’re looking forward to clinical research with partners, including EyePACS and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH), to investigate if photos from smartphone cameras can help detect diabetes and non-diabetes diseases from external eye photos as well. While this is in the early stages of research and development, our engineers and scientists envision a future where people, with the help of their doctors, can better understand and make decisions about health conditions from their own homes.

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