AN MMU researcher has been given a £90k award to look into new ways of detecting eye disease.
Dr Liangxui Han was given the prestigious Dorothy Hodgkins Postgraduate Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for the study, making MMU the first new university to receive this honour.
Dr Han said she was ‘very proud’ to be awarded the money which will be used for a three year project to develop computational methods to detect eye disease.
Working with Optos, a leading global medical technology company and Phd student Mohammed Salman Haleem, Dr Han hopes to design software which uses data from retinal images to automatically detect features of eye diseases.
Retinas showing early signs of eye disease will be classified into the most likely causes and this data will be used to create software which can pick up features of the three most common diseases; diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
This will make diagnosis less subjective, reduce wrong diagnosis and mean that Opthamologists can work more quickly, ultimately reducing the burden on the NHS.
Dr Han said: “Our aim is to find a computational method which reliably detects features of eye disease in retinal images.
“For example to detect diabetic retinopathy our system must detect features such as changes in colour, texture or shape, and must never fail to detect a disease which is present.
“Computational methods would not replace the ophthalmologist but it would make diagnosis more objective and stop inconsistencies.
“Automation could help more patients to be screened more quickly and improve detection of eye diseases – this would have a major impact on global healthcare.”
The project is jointly funded by Optos and will use retinal images provided by the company’s Optomap digital eye examinations to develop the software.
Roy Davis, CEO of Optos said: “We are delighted to be working with MMU on this study. We believe that diagnosis by retinal images will become a future gold standard in eyecare health.”
The project began in January and will finish in 2015.
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.
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