Dr Wen Hwa Lee, chief executive and chief scientist of charity Action Against AMD (AAAMD), joined us for a recent webinar to share how your data could support ground breaking eye health research.

The Macular Society is working alongside AAAMD to use ophthalmology data to speed up research for new medicines and treatments, including macular disease.

Known as the Foresight project, AAAMD will be encouraging people – with or without eye or macular conditions - to agree to donate their regular eye exam and scan data for research.

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How can AI revolutionise eye health?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that develops over a long time. With regular eye examination data from those who have not yet reached the referral threshold, it’s hoped that researchers will be able to discover new, earlier warning signs. Using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyse the data, scientists aim to understand whether certain people may be at a higher risk of AMD manifesting or progressing. The data will help design new treatments to slow progression, or halt it altogether.

Will my data be secure?

The combined data will be anonymised and only vetted projects and scientists from multiple disciplines will be able to securely analyse this data, using a variety of techniques including AI.

How can your data help the NHS?

Ophthalmology is the busiest outpatient department in the UK, and there are lots of people who are being referred unnecessarily for urgent wet AMD appointments. This can lead to longer waiting times for the people who need appointments most.

With more accurate data about AMD, this could mean more accurate diagnoses and referrals, reducing NHS waiting times and ensuring fewer people lose their sight.

How can I get involved?

The Foresight project is due to be rolled out this summer and it is aiming to involve half a million participants from around the UK. It will be open to everyone, whether you have a macular condition or not. The more people we can get involved, the faster we can find a cure for macular disease (and in fact many others, too!) so please do tell your friends and family.

Interested to know more about the Foresight project?

Please visit the AAAMD website to hear more about this project and register your interest.

Learn more

Watch Dr Wen Hwa Lee’s full webinar on how artificial intelligence could transform eye care below 

You can find more of our educational webinars on Our webinars webpage.

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Watch our latest webinars online. Every month we host two webinars to bring you closer to the experts. We are joined by experts in macular disease who discuss the latest in treatments and research and answer your questions.

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Patients have a very important part to play in medical research. Without them we would not have the treatments we have today and new and improved treatments would not be possible.