UK company Visulytix is utilising Microsoft Azure and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to supply solutions for eye-care experts so they can identify disease sooner.
Visulytix developed the innovative program known as Pegasus. The software uploads 3D and 2D eye scans taken at opticians, surgeries and screening centres to Microsoft’s cloud-based platform Azure. In then makes use of AI to instantly single out early warning signs of eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
The AI highlights regions of the image for the medical professional carrying out the scan, and indicates potential eye disease within them, allowing medics to quickly determine if referral to a specialist is required.
The positive impact of Pegasus
The London-headquartered enterprise believes Pegasus could potentially save billions for the UK economy in related healthcare costs. The company also holds the opinion that utilising Pegasus in screening and optometry could upgrade the possibility of detecting these diseases, which can cause blindness earlier.
Chief Executive Officer for Visulytix, Jay Lakhani, stated that catching conditions quickly is key to prevention of blindness and that AI is now assisting medical professionals to do this. He explained:
“We see our solution as ‘decision support’ – AI and doctor working together. What Pegasus does is up-skill the user, so they can operate with a specialist’s level of accuracy. AI-provided decision support needs to be used to counter the fact that there simply aren’t enough ophthalmologists. Pegasus can fill that void by upskilling non-specialists so they make better referrals, leading to better use of healthcare resources. Simultaneously, by reducing false negatives, Pegasus can help identify patients who would have otherwise gone blind in time, thereby reducing the pressure on the NHS, as well as the patient’s family and friends.”
Each year, there are over a million visits to the NHS regarding glaucoma, making it among the most prevailing ophthalmic diseases. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that managing glaucoma patients features largely in ophthalmologists’ day-to-day workload, comprising nearly a quarter (23%) of the total number of follow-up patients for specialists across the UK.
Strong support from Microsoft technology
The effectiveness of Pegasus is facilitated in part by Microsoft’s Azure. The stable, flexible and secure hosting of the cloud-based platform allows Pegasus to execute its tasks in seconds, as it can deal with immediate rises in demand with ease.
Visulytix is soon to begin a pilot which will be carried out in India. With the assistance of Pegasus its study will conduct eye examinations on people living in its remote villages. Diabetes is currently verging on epidemic status in India and according to the findings of The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, individual cases of the condition diabetic retinopathy are increasing. Lakhani believes Visulytix and its Pegasus program can make a positive impact in these areas of India that would not usually be afforded access to eye testing.
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