Diabetic eye disease, also known as diabetic retinopathy (DR), is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss for people aged 20 to 74 years.
In this medical condition, blood vessels are progressively damaged in the retina. But about 90 percent of the blindness or vision impairment caused by diabetic retinopathy is preventable or treatable if the condition is detected early enough.
However, more than 50 percent of diabetic retinopathy cases go unnoticed or are diagnosed too late.
Now, 16-year-old Indian student Kavya Kopparapu, a high-school junior, has developed a simple and cheap AI-enabled screening tool to recognize DR.
She, along with her 15-year-old brother and another classmate, created a smartphone app called Eyeagnosis that screens for the disease with the help of a specially trained artificial intelligence program and a simple 3D-printed lens attachment.
She was inspired to build the device by her grandfather.
She stumbled upon this idea last year when she was looking for a new project that could utilize her computer science skills. She thought of her grandfather who lives in a small city in India. He was diagnosed with DR. He was treated for the condition, but unfortunately he still suffered slight loss of vision.
Kopparapu made arrangements to test the Eyeagnosis app at a Mumbai hospital. The app was tested on five patients and yielded 100 percent successful results.
She presented her work last month at the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence conference in New York.