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20 September 2016, DeepMind Health patient engagement event

DeepMind Health held their first large-scale patient and public involvement event on 20th September 2016, bringing together a diverse group of patients and carers to hear about the work DeepMind Health are doing and to help decide on the best way to involve service users going forward. Over 130 patients, carers and members of the public were in attendance with many more watching the livestream.

Moorfields patient Elaine Manna took to the stage to tell her story of how age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has affected her and why she has been inspired by the research project between Moorfields and DeepMind Health.

Mr Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, also explained how the research partnership came about and the hope that this work will eventually help eye health professionals to make faster and more accurate diagnoses of the commonest eye conditions.

The live stream of the event is available to watch below. 

4 July 2016, We are excited to announce a new medical research partnership with DeepMind Health.

A new medical research partnership that could revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests and lead to earlier detection of common eye diseases has been launched in London.

With the number of people suffering from sight loss in the UK predicted to double by 2050, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and DeepMind Health will explore how cutting edge technologies can help medical research into eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and sight loss as a result of diabetes. 

The partnership brings together leading NHS eye health professionals with some of the UK’s top technologists at DeepMind, which specialises in using machine learning technologies to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. 

As part of the research project between the Moorfields Eye Hospital and DeepMind, machine learning will be applied to one million anonymous eye scans, to look for early signs of eye conditions that humans might miss. 

Two million people are living with sight loss in the UK, of whom around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. With the right treatment at the right time, many cases are preventable. For example, it is estimated that up to 98% of sight loss resulting from diabetes can be prevented by early detection and treatment.

Both Moorfields Eye Hospital and DeepMind Health hope that this work will eventually help eye health professionals to make faster and more accurate diagnoses, leading to better treatment for patients living with eye conditions.

Professor Sir Peng Tee KhawDirector of the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said: "Our research with DeepMind has the potential to revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests and could lead to earlier detection and treatment of common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. With sight loss predicted to double by the year 2050 it is vital we explore the use of cutting-edge technology to prevent eye disease."

Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, said: “We set up DeepMind because we wanted to use AI to help solve some of society's biggest challenges, and diabetic retinopathy is the fastest growing cause of blindness worldwide. There are more than 350m sufferers across the planet. I'm really excited to announce this collaboration with leading researchers at Moorfields. Detecting eye diseases as early as possible gives patients the best possible chance of getting the right treatments. I really believe that one day this work will be a great benefit to patients across the NHS. We are proud of our NHS, and this is one of the ways I think we can help nurses and doctors continue to provide world-class care.”

Dr Dolores Conroy, Director of Research at Fight for Sight welcomes this partnership and comments: “We are really excited about this collaboration and the potential of machine learning to analyse the thousands of retinal scans taken each week in the NHS allowing eye health professionals to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and more timely treatments thus preventing sight loss. In the longer term this technology could provide important insights into disease mechanisms in wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy”.

Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society, said: "This is an exciting development towards early detection of eye disease and finding a cure for conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a devastating condition and delays due to pressure on eye clinics have resulted in some people suffering unnecessary sight loss. This technology could ease that pressure if it can accurately diagnose conditions such as wet AMD resulting in urgent referrals for only those that need them.”

Clara Eaglen, RNIB Eye Health Campaigns Manager, said: "AI technology that can check retinal scans and detect eye disease at a much earlier stage could play a big role in tackling avoidable sight loss. In many cases, once sight is lost it cannot be restored, so earlier detection that leads to rapid treatment will be hugely beneficial. We look forward to seeing the results of the work as the research progresses."

For media enquiries, please contact the DeepMind Press Office on or or call 07734 967284 or the Moorfields Eye Hospital Press Office on or call 020 7566 2628. For out of hours enquiries please call 020 7253 3411 who will contact the on call press officer.


  1. Up to 50% of people with proliferative diabetic retinopathy who do not receive timely treatment will become legally blind within five years.  Up to 98% of severe vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented by early detection and treatment.  By efficiently analysing the large number of scans and images taken of the eye every year, a machine learning algorithm could ensure the right patients in need of treatment are seen at the right time by the right clinician.
  2. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will affect an estimated 2.5 million adults by 2020 in the UK alone.  Around 15% of early cases of AMD progress to the more serious form of wet AMD, which can be difficult for a clinician to predict. Machine learning has an opportunity to filter through the huge quantity of information available from scans of the eye, and potentially recognise subtle features which predict the onset of wet AMD.  This early warning system could initiate faster intervention and the prevention of patient eye deterioration in the future.
  3. Sight loss in the UK. Two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives (Access Economics, 2009). The leading causes of sight loss in the UK are uncorrected refractive error, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. This figure includes people who are registered as blind or partially sighted and those whose sight is just better than the levels which qualify for registration.
  4. DeepMind has access to approximately one million anonymous digital eye scans, along with some related anonymous information about eye condition and disease management. This means it’s not possible to identify any individual patients from the scans. They’re also historic scans, meaning that while the results of our research may be used to improve future care, they won’t affect the care any patient receives today. The data used in this research is not personally identifiable. When research is working with such data, which is anonymous with no way for researchers to identify individual patients, explicit consent from patients for their data to be used in this way is not required. For more information please refer to the ICO code of conduct.
  5. Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, providing expertise in clinical care, research and education. We have provided excellence in eye care for more than 200 years and we continue to be at the forefront of new breakthroughs and developments. We are an integral part of one of the UK’s first academic health science centres, UCL Partners, and now we are part of one of the first science health networks. We were one of the first organisations to become an NHS foundation trust in 2004. For further information, please visit
  6. NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology was established in April 2007 and awarded a second five-year term by the NIHR from April 2012. Its purpose is to conduct 'translational research' that is designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs.  Our centre is currently one of 11 biomedical research centres that were awarded in 2012 to NHS/university partnerships with an outstanding international reputation for medical research and expertise, and experience of translating that research into the clinical setting. For further information, please visit
  7. Founded in London in 2010, DeepMind was supported by some of the most iconic tech entrepreneurs and investors of the past decade, prior to being acquired by Google in early 2014 in their largest European acquisition to date. Its world-class team consists of many renowned experts in their respective fields, including but not limited to deep neural networks, reinforcement learning and systems neuroscience-inspired models. DeepMind Health was launched in February 2016 to work with talented clinicians in the NHS and other health services to develop and use technology in the provision of world-class care. For further information please visit
  8. Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. Fight for Sight is funding research at leading universities and hospitals throughout the UK. Our current research programme is focusing on preventing and treating age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and corneal disease. We are also funding research into the causes of childhood blindness and a large number of rare eye diseases. For further information, please visit or call 020 7264 3900.
  9. The Macular Society is the national charity for anyone affected by central vision loss. Our 22,000 members make us the biggest patient group in the sight loss sector and the voice of people with macular conditions. We provide free information and support to improve lives and ensure no one has to face macular disease alone. We have 300 Macular Society support group around the UK and beyond. We fund research so that one day we can overcome macular disease. For further information, please visit
  10. RNIB. Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and we're here for everyone affected by sight loss - that's over 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit