Members of the public participate in project to analyse images of Uveitis in children

24 May 2022

Members of the public are being asked to examine and evaluate high-resolution images of the potentially blinding eye condition uveitis, as part of a UCL-led project aimed at ensuring children with the disease are diagnosed and treated more quickly. 

Uveitis is a form of eye inflammation that can cause vision loss. It one of the commonest reasons for adults to attend to eye casualty clinics, but it is far less common in children; around 3,000-5,000 children in the UK have the disorder.

The Eyes on Eyes initiative is building up a bank of images from children with uveitis; these images need to be analysed and labelled by humans so that they can eventually be used to train artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems to detect the disease from new images automatically.

In this ‘citizen science’-style project, participants will be asked to judge the quality of the images, annotate them, or mark possible inflammatory cells inside the eye.

Project lead Dr Lola Solebo (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital) said: 

“Eyes on Eyes will help us improve how we monitor the disease, diagnose it faster and support remote monitoring. But, with the extra information from the images comes the extra need for some way to speed up analysis of the many images we get from each eye.

“The Zooniverse project will help us ‘bank’ the analysed images we need to train artificial intelligence to analyse the image for us.

Explaining the problem of childhood uveitis, Dr Solebo said: “Often, children have difficulty making their eye problems known, or can’t feel that they have a problem until their condition has deteriorated. 

“It’s worth noting that uveitis is uncommon in children and much more common in adults. All too often, advances happen first in adult care and then slowly filter down to children, so this is a wonderful example of medical advances developing faster for childhood disease, rather than the other way around.” 

The Eyes on Eyes initiative is supported by UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, the NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and the National Institute for Health and Care Research.  

Dr Solebo is based at the new Sight and Sound Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital.