Automatic computer analysis of blood vessels in wet AMD

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mr Maged Habib
  • Institute: University of Lincoln
  • Region: East Midlands
  • Start date: January 2015
  • End Date: May 2016
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: AMD


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the part of the retina that we use for seeing in detail (the macula). Around 1 in 5 people with AMD will develop the wet form of the condition. In wet AMD, unhealthy new blood vessels grow under the macula. Blood and fluid leak from these vessels and cause scarring.

Unlike ‘dry’ AMD, wet AMD can be treated. There are several drugs – known as anti-VEGFs – that target a substance called ‘vascular endothelial growth factor’ which is essential for new blood vessels to grow. Anti-VEGFs prevent the new blood vessels from growing.

Both AMD and anti-VEGF drugs can change the structure of blood vessels. Digital imaging of the retina has already been used to look at changes in the width of blood vessels, but there are other types of change that haven’t been studied yet.

In this project the team will test a new computer system designed to do automatic image analysis for wet AMD. As well as measuring width, they will see how well the system picks up details such as changes to the way blood vessels branch.

They hope to be able to build up a clear picture of the blood vessel landscape in people who respond to treatment and people who don’t, for different anti-VEGF drugs. The results could help predict the course of AMD for individuals and identify people at high risk.