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Subspecialties Glaucoma

Early Days

How useful would it be to have a test capable of picking up signs of glaucoma even 18 months earlier than with current methods, such as OCT? A new way of visualizing retinal cells, called DARC (Detection-of-Apoptosing-Retinal-Cells), developed as part of a clinical trial sponsored by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, UK, uses a fluorescent dye to illuminate cells in the process of apoptosis.

Then, an AI-aided algorithm analyzes patients’ retinal scans and refers those with higher DARC counts for further diagnosis. The trial found a significantly raised DARC number in patients who later progressed. The new method could also be used to test patients with AMD, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases.

Figure 1. A patient’s retina showing hyperfluorescent signals; each white spot is a single affected retinal nerve cell. Imagery supported by DARC technology, UCL/Western Eye Hospital.

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