New smartphone app has launched for observing the signs of eye diseases in babies. Doctors usually feel difficulty in examining the eye of babies, as they don’t respond according to the instructions. Also, they are not able to define their symptoms as adults. Considering that, this app is an easy way to detect eye-diseases by scanning the patient.
The app is the result of the five-year hard work of a father, whose child was suffering from a serious eye disease. The aim of this app is not to replace the eye-specialist. It helps in two ways, first by helping in early diagnosis and second to prevent further damage to the eye.
Retinoblastoma- a disease of 4 months old patient
NDR reported the story of Bryan Shaw’s son Noah and explained how he lost an eye due to cancer. Noah Shaw’s diagnosis showed that he had a disease called retinoblastoma at the age of 4 months. For diagnosis, the doctor passed a flash of light into his eye and received a pale reflection from the backside of the eyeball. That indicated the presence of a tumor in the eye.
As a scientist, Bryan Shaw thought the other photos of his son also contain the same pale reflection.
Being a chemist and with the collaboration of his computer science colleagues at Baylor University in Waco, Shaw was capable to develop an application named CRADLE. The app uses artificial intelligence, to detect the white eye that may be initial signs of many eye diseases, for example, retinoblastoma, coats’ disease, and pediatric cataracts.
An anecdotal report shows that 10 thousand people have downloaded the app and helped many children to get an early diagnosis of eye disease.
To verify the app, they observed the 50,000 photos of 40 children. Out of 40 children 20 were suffering from eye disease and 20 without any signs of eye disease. The results are published in the journal called “Science Advances”. Click here to read the complete results.
The app is not totally perfect
The app is not completely reliable because it cannot differentiate the white eyespot in disease or non-disease eye. Later the situation is more problematic. This condition is a false positive result that shows up in less than 1% of people.
At the Vanderbilt university medical center according to an ophthalmologist Sean Donahue 1% false-positive result means that out of 4 million children born in U.S. per year. So, thousands of children would show up to the doctors without any reason. Besides this he has optimistic approach towards the app. According to him the app is exciting innovative technology. It will help us to do a screening test for several eye diseases in babies.
At the Oregon health and science university, an eye specialist doctor, Alison Skalet it is reported that by the time the app will generate more ideal results and its technology gets smarter day by day.
This app is also accessible in rural areas that lack ophthalmology departments. Also, there is no availability of specialists for the early detection of disease.
For the betterment of the app, scientists need more pictures of people with serious eye disease. So that they can analyze the white eye more accurately in the future. According to researchers for introducing the app globally, we need more photos of kids specially from Asia and Africa, and hence we will be able to recover more children in the world.