Assessing neurodegeneration of the retina and brain with ultra-widefield retinal images.
Philosophers have often described the eye as the window to the soul. This can also be addressed on the scientific basis that the retina is a direct window into the health of the brain (or CNS). My focus is on the development of automatic detection algorithms of biomarkers for Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in retinal images. AMD is often characterised by the presence of drusen, small deposits of cellular debris, in retinal images appearing as bright white/yellow spots. The hallmark of AD is the presence of Aβ-amyloid which has also been shown to be present in drusen. There are currently no treatments for late AMD, therefore early diagnosis and detection of drusen could provide timely treatment. Additionally, the potential of drusen as an early biomarker of AD will be explored. My methods focus on image analysis and quantification of fundus and OptoMap images (Optos) and application of machine learning algorithms as an automatic detection strategy.