Google has developed an Artificial intelligence (AI)-based system that performed as well as, and in certain cases better than, clinicians in predicting progression of a common eye condition that can cause vision loss. The system was built to detect age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that afflicts more than 25% of over-60s in Europe and up to 11 million people in the US. There are two types of the disease: a “dry” form, which often only causes mild sight loss, and a “wet” one, which can lead to permanent blindness. Currently, Ophthalmologists diagnose AMD by analyzing 3D scans of the eye. But these highly detailed images are time-consuming to review. DeepMind‘s researchers suspected that AI could more quickly detect the symptoms of patients needing urgent treatment – which could ultimately save their sight. For each patient, the researchers worked with retinal experts to review all prior scans for each eye and determine the scan when wet AMD was first evident. The AI system is composed of two deep convolutional neural networks, one taking the raw 3D scan as input and the other taking a segmentation map outlining the types of tissue present in the retina. It used the raw scan and tissue segmentations to estimate a patient’s risk of progressing to wet AMD within the next six months. In the future, this system could potentially help doctors plan studies of earlier intervention, as well as contribute more broadly to clinical understanding of the disease and disease progression.