Developing a Prototype Artificial Intelligence-based Eye Tracker (A-EYE) for the Diagnosis and Monitoring of Eye Movement Disorders

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Nystagmus Network Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Mervyn Thomas
  • Institute: University of Leicester
  • Region: East Midlands
  • Start date: June 2021
  • End Date: April 2023
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Refractive error & ocular motility
Brief plain language background

Nystagmus causes involuntary movement of the eyes, usually from side to side.

Most people with the condition will have reduced vision – which can affect their ability to carry out everyday activities such as reading or driving.

What problem/knowledge gap does it help address

People living with nystagmus undergo detailed assessments of their eye movements to record information about the type, direction and intensity of movements. These are carried out by specialist eye doctors, with the accuracy depending on the specialist’s experience and individual interpretation. Some specialist eye centres use state-of-the-art equipment, which is expensive, requires experience to carry out, are time-consuming to analyse resulting in delays, and not well adapted for children.

These factors contribute to an unmet need for eye movement recordings, which are valuable in the processes of diagnosis and monitoring of the condition.

Aim of the project

To develop a low-cost system that can record and analyse eye movement to be used for clinic-based assessments.

Key procedures/objectives
  1. Develop a set of instructions for a computer system (algorithm) to identify eyes from video recordings that can trace and record eye movements.
  2. Use the algorithm, named A-EYE, to create a system that can extract information about the eye movement recordings.
  3. Compare A-EYE results with existing state-of-the-art eye movement recordings, to determine accuracy, length of examination, and quality of information.
Potential impact on people with sight loss

By using A-EYE, people living with nystagmus could receive more consistent and accurate investigations of their eye movements. This would promote standardisation across examinations, including for those with no access to specialist centres, helping to ensure everyone receives the same standard of care.