Verily, Google launch AI-powered screening program for eye disease

Verily and Google have launched a new program that brings machine learning-powered screening for two diabetic eye diseases to patients in India.

The companies are using a newly developed machine learning algorithm to automate the screening of both diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India. Sunny Virmani, product manager for Verily, and Kasumi Widner, a program manager for Google, detailed the process in a long post on the Verily website, noting that their algorithm has achieved results “on part with general ophthalmologists and retinal specialists assessing the images for disease.”

According to the post, the screening program has already improved care for patients at Aravind Eye Hospital.

“Thousands of patients come through the doors of our hospitals and vision centers every day, and we want to provide them with the best possible eye care,” R. Kim, DO, chief medical officer and chief of retina services at the hospital, said in the post. “By integrating Verily and Google’s retinal diagnostic program into our screening process, we can improve our efficiency, giving physicians like myself more time to work closely with patients on treatment and management of their disease while increasing the volume of screenings we can perform.”

The algorithm has gained CE certification, according to the companies. Verily and Google are also presently exploring its impact on a national DR screening program.