Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Eye imaging software could aid diagnosis

CCBS researchers hsve found that eye imaging software could aid disease diagnosis.

CCBS researcher Dr Tom MacGillivray has led a study suggesting that imaging technology that scans blood vessels in the eye could be used to help diagnose a wide range of diseases.

Software designed to assess the health of vessels in the retina could help spot the early signs of heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

Changes to the retina are often a sign of sickness elsewhere in the body. The software - known as VAMPIRE - allows scientists to analyse the shape of blood vessels in thousands of images at a time and can identify known indicators of disease.

VAMPIRE - which stands for Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina - was developed jointly by scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee.

Researchers claim the software could save significant amounts of time by largely automating the process of looking for retinal abnormalities in large data sets.

The team was the first to use a software tool to analyse images from more than 2,500 people who had retinal scans collected for UK Biobank, a long-term national health study. CCBS Professor Cathie Sudlow is Chief Scientist of UK Biobank.

VAMPIRE proved effective at analysing images, though researchers say a larger trial is required to determine if it is the best way of utilising UK Biobank’s 80,000-strong retinal dataset.

This is the first step towards analysing all the retinal images held in the UK Biobank and to contribute valuable information about the health and condition of small blood vessels. Our work will hopefully accelerate research into the causes and treatments of chronic illnesses that affect millions of people in the UK.

Dr Tom MacGillivrayCentre for Clinical Brain Sciences and Clinical Research Imaging Centre

Related Links

Dr Tom MacGillivray Principal Investigator profile

Vascular Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina (VAMPIRE)

Retinal Imaging at Neuroimaging Sciences, CCBS

Clinical Research Imaging Centre Edinburgh