BENGALURU: Researchers have developed a new software that can save people from blindness. The tool developed by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) can detect glaucoma in its early stages, a condition which can cause blindness if not detected early.
The software requires an image of the fundus (posterior chamber of the eye), which can be obtained with low-cost smartphone cameras. The Java-based software can analyse a number of images within a minute and assess whether a person is affected with glaucoma or not. The team is currently converting the software to an Android app, a press note stated.
Prof Chandra Sekhar Seelamantula and his PhD student Harish Kumar J R (assistant professor at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal) at the Department of Electrical Engineering, IISc, have developed the software. “It is capable of detecting glaucoma with about 90 per cent accuracy,” he said.
Glaucoma, popularly known as the ‘Sneak Thief of Sight’, is the second leading cause of blindness globally and it affects at least 12 per cent of the Indian population. It is caused by a change in the pressure of the fluids that surround the eye structures. The disease progresses gradually and the signs of vision impairment are felt only in the advanced stages. The loss of vision caused cannot be reversed, making early detection imperative.
One of the parameters that the software calculates is the cup-to-disc ratio or CDR from images of the fundus. The CDR is used to assess the progression of glaucoma. Based on the CDR and other parameters, the software categorises the condition as mild, moderate, or severely glaucomatous.
As of now, Glaucoma detection involves making tedious measurements of a fundus image manually.
“The software tool can en masse analyse hundreds of images. Each image takes a few seconds to process, and diagnosis is generated on the fly,” Seelamantula said.
The software can also be used alongside tabletop or handheld fundus cameras, empowering smaller clinics in rural areas to diagnose glaucomatous conditions.