Researchers develop new app to detect eye diseases

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Two smart students, Igor García Atutxa and Francisca Villanueva, studying for their master’s degrees at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), have made something special: a mobile app.

This app is not just any ordinary app. It can check if someone has glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or cataracts. These are common health problems that make people lose their sight or even become completely blind.

You might be wondering how the app works. It uses something called artificial intelligence. The app can look at a selfie – a picture that someone takes of their own face – and figure out if the person has one of those eye diseases.

If the app thinks the person might have an eye disease, it tells them to go see a doctor who can help.

The students named their project “BegIA,” which means ‘eye’ in the Basque language. It’s made especially for people who can’t easily get to a doctor or a hospital.

The app even won a special prize for helping people, called the Ramón Molinas Foundation Prize for Social Impact.

Why is this App Needed?

According to a big organization called the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 2.2 billion people around the world who have trouble seeing or are blind.

Half of these cases could have been prevented if the problem was found early. That’s why the students made the BegIA app.

The idea for the app came from a personal story. One of the students had a family member who had type 2 diabetes and started losing their sight.

This family member had an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. If this disease is found early, doctors can do more to help.

If you want to find eye diseases early, you usually need a doctor who specializes in eyes, called an ophthalmologist. They use special tools to look at the back of your eye.

But not everyone can easily get to an ophthalmologist. This is a big problem for people who live far away from cities or in poor countries.

How Does the App Work?

Igor García Atutxa is a physicist who knows a lot about analyzing data. Francisca Villanueva-Flores is a biochemist who knows a lot about diseases that get worse over time.

Together, they made technology that can tell if someone might have an eye disease just by looking at a selfie.

The technology uses a special kind of artificial intelligence called a neural network. This kind of artificial intelligence can learn from experience.

The students taught it using pictures of people’s faces. They got these pictures from a school in Mexico where Villanueva-Flores is a researcher.

Now, they’re trying to get more pictures from hospitals and groups that help people with diabetes. This will help the artificial intelligence learn even better.

The students think that their app could be ready to use in about two years. They’ve used pictures of people who have retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts.

Artificial intelligence uses math to compare these pictures to the selfie. The more pictures they get, the better the artificial intelligence can learn.

What’s Next?

In addition to teaching the artificial intelligence, the students have also made a simple version of the app for Android phones.

They entered a competition called SpinUOC because they wanted to make the app even better. They want the app to do more things and work on any phone, even ones that aren’t very powerful.

The app is meant to help both doctors and patients. It can find eye diseases early, but it can also help doctors keep track of their patients.

After a doctor figures out what’s wrong with someone and starts treatment, they can use the app to see how the person is doing.

The patient takes pictures with the app, and the doctor looks at them. This means that the patient doesn’t have to spend a lot of time and money going to the doctor’s office.

If you care about eye health, please read studies about how to save your eyes from diabetes, and the treatments of dry eye you need to know.

For more information about eye disease, please see recent studies about how to protect your eyes from glaucoma, and results showing this eye surgery may reduce dementia risk.

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