Google Research

Predicting Progression of Age-related Macular Degeneration from Fundus Images using Deep Learning

arXiv (2019)


Background: Patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can avoid vision loss via certain therapy. However, methods to predict the progression to neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD) are lacking. Purpose: To develop and validate a deep learning (DL) algorithm to predict 1-year progression of eyes with no, early, or intermediate AMD to nvAMD, using color fundus photographs (CFP). Design: Development and validation of a DL algorithm. Methods: We trained a DL algorithm to predict 1-year progression to nvAMD, and used 10-fold cross-validation to evaluate this approach on two groups of eyes in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS): none/early/intermediate AMD, and intermediate AMD (iAMD) only. We compared the DL algorithm to the manually graded 4-category and 9-step scales in the AREDS dataset. Main outcome measures: Performance of the DL algorithm was evaluated using the sensitivity at 80% specificity for progression to nvAMD. Results: The DL algorithm's sensitivity for predicting progression to nvAMD from none/early/iAMD (78+/-6%) was higher than manual grades from the 9-step scale (67+/-8%) or the 4-category scale (48+/-3%). For predicting progression specifically from iAMD, the DL algorithm's sensitivity (57+/-6%) was also higher compared to the 9-step grades (36+/-8%) and the 4-category grades (20+/-0%). Conclusions: Our DL algorithm performed better in predicting progression to nvAMD than manual grades. Future investigations are required to test the application of this DL algorithm in a real-world clinical setting.

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