Imaging Analysis Used to Find Semiconductor Defects Now Used to Diagnose Diabetic Retinopathy

March 1, 2009

As reported in Wired Science earlier this month, a technique developed to find semiconductor defects is now being used to diagnose eye conditions associated with diabetes over the internet.

Pictures of diabetic patients’ retinas are uploaded to a server that compares them to a database of thousands of other images of healthy and diseased eyes. Algorithms can assign a disease level to the new eye image by looking at the same factors, mainly damage to blood vessels, that an eye doctor would.

The technique is the braincild of Dr. Edward Chaum of the University of Tennessee who collaborated with Ken Tobin, an engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee who had developed databases filled with images of defective semiconductors to help engineers spot similar types of failures.

Presently, special internet-linked retinal cameras are being installed in rural, poor areas of the Mississippi Delta where diabetes affects up to 20 percent of the population, but there are no retinal specialists.

Read more in Wired Science.

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