Google developing Macular Degeneration Diagnosis Program

September 19, 2016

In 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue program beat Garry Kasparov at chess. In 2016, Google’s Deep Mind beat the world champion Go player.

Google plans to use more than one million anonymized eye scans to teach computers how to diagnose ocular disease.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has signed a deal with a British eye hospital to use artificial intelligence to learn from the medical records of 1.6 million patients in London hospitals.

The goal is to teach a computer program to recognize the signs of two common types of eye disease, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

That’s something humans are surprisingly imperfect at. Physicians diagnose these ailments by analyzing medical charts and interviewing patients, yet still get it wrong 10 to 20% of the time.

Artificial intelligence could enable a machine to scan millions of records and documents, learn from them and then make more accurate diagnoses and save time while doing so.

The partnership, announced Monday, is between DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company owned by Google, and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

For more info:



DaVinci vs. Prodigy

August 14, 2015

There was a time when a digital Image magnifier was a simple device. You put a newspaper on a table and an enlarged view appeared on a video screen. Now the number of screen options and alternative features require a guide book. However this flexibility does provide a far superior experience.

Two of the best are the DaVinci by Enhanced Vision and the Prodigy by Humanware.  They both provide an enlarged vision of what you are trying to read in high definition with optional magnification, contrast and type color. They both can read the message out loud for you. They both help you see photos of you grandkids, although in different manners.

The differences between these magical devices are in the hardware construction.

Da Vinci

The DaVinci has a camera on a stand that swivels left and right, forward and back.  This allows a woman to point it at her own eyes as she applies makeup. It allows a student to point it at the blackboard and read the magnified image on the monitor.

The DaVinci lets you connect to your computer or your iPhone, allowing you to read the iPhone screen on your enlarged monitor. It can read your email aloud. You can wander thru Google or watch YouTube on an enlarged screen.


prodigi 2

The Prodigy has a removable camera similar to a smart phone. This gives you the advantage of having two devices in one: a desktop magnifier and a portable magnifier. The portable feature lets you read menus in a restaurant or info at the airport. However this is not a tablet or smartphone.

They both have easy to use controls. The DaVinci has familiar buttons and knobs. The Prodigy has a simple touch screen.

With a 24 inch screen, the DaVinci costs $2,995 and the Prodigy Costs $3,495. For $595 you can buy a Pebble portable magnifier and add it to the DaVinci.

Either one of these devices is a wonderful assistive, well made, expensive, but well worth the cost.

Smartphone App to detect eye disease early

July 11, 2015

Researchers have developed an application that can detect eye diseases like diabetic macular edema.

The app, developed by a team from the Medical and Surgical Centre for Retina in Mexico, uses the camera of the phone to detect any abnormality in the thickness of the retina.

The move is aimed at general physicians who can detect the condition and refer the patient to a specialist.

“The idea is to detect and prevent diseases in general practice. We are not replacing the specialist. We want to know which patients have a disease and make an early detection,” said Dr Juan Carlos Altamirano Vallejo, medical director of the Medical and Surgical Centre for Retina.

For people with diabetes, this app will help them know whether they are suffering with macular degeneration, edema and diabetic retinopathy.

The software, developed in collaboration with biomedical engineers from the Spain-based the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) has been satisfactory and is expected to soon be marketed and incorporated the basic health system.

For more info:

FDA approves new treatment for diabetic retinopathy

April 1, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use for Eylea (aflibercept) injection to treat diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetic macular edema. In February, the FDA approved Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) 0.3 mg to treat DR in patients with DME.

In 2008, 33 percent of adults with diabetes aged 40 years or older had some form of DR. In some cases of DR with diabetic macular edema (DME), abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Severe vision loss or blindness can occur if the new blood vessels break.

Eylea is administered by a physician as an injection into the eye once a month for the first five injections and then once every two months. It is intended to be used along with appropriate interventions to control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

For more info:

ZoomText for Free

December 17, 2014

While doing her Christmas preparation, Gail Johnson has come across her copy of ZoomText 9.1.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, she is generously offering it to a needy person. If you have low vision, just write to her, explaining how you will give it a good home. Not for resale.

Her email address is

Thank you Gail. A truly gracious offer.

Micro-Pulse Laser – alternative to Anti-VEGF Injections

April 26, 2014

 IRIDEX Corporation (IRIX) announced that an educational story based on its innovative MicroPulse technology for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), was recently featured on the Washington, D.C. edition of “American Health Front,” a health news program focused on advances in medical techniques and technologies.


At the American Academy of Ophthalmology seminar in New Orleans, a busy booth was Iridex (Mountain View, California), which has recently been showing robust sales growth and improving profitability under the astute management of CEO Will Moore. The company, which has a sterling reputation in the ophthalmic laser space for two decades, sponsored a series of informative talks at its booth on the myriad applications for its laser products.

David Dickman, MD, of the Universal Eye Center (Rolesville, North Carolina) discussed Iridex’s 532 nm micropulse laser in a talk titled “A Comprehensive Laser for the Comprehensive Ophthalmologist: Clinical and Economical Advantages.”

MicroPulse technology is a promising, tissue-sparing laser therapy that allows the tissue to cool between laser pulses, minimizing or preventing tissue damage. Drugs injected directly into the eye have a role in treating retinal diseases, but there are serious issues in terms of costs and logistics due to the need for continuous injections for the rest of one’s life. This is just not a sustainable model in today’s value-based medicine world. MicroPulse offers powerful advantages, in terms of durability, economics and logistics for payors and patients.

For more info:



New hand-held device to catch early signs of eye disease

December 28, 2013

 MIT researchers have developed a new hand-held device that scans a patient’s entire retina in seconds to detect a host of retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. The MIT group, in collaboration with the University of Erlangen and Praevium/Thorlabs, has developed a portable instrument that can be taken outside a specialist’s office.

To deal with the motion instability of a hand-held device, the instrument takes multiple 3-D images at high speeds, scanning a particular volume of the eye many times but with different scanning directions.

By using multiple 3-D images of the same part of the retina, it is possible to correct for distortions due to motion of the operator’s hand or the subject’s own eye.



According to study author James Fujimoto of MIT, the next step is to evaluate the technology in a clinical setting.

But the device is still relatively expensive, he added, and before this technology finds its way into doctors’ offices or in the field, manufacturers will have to find a way to support or lower its cost.

For more info: