Oculomics: no eye is an island

29 January 2021
Winter 2021

The new discipline of oculomics uses machine learning to detect biomarkers of systemic health in the eye. Kim Thomas asks: how does it work, what are its ethical implications, and will it be the future of the profession?

Domains covered

Professionalism Clinical practice

We have known for a long time that examining the eyes reveals information about general health: in 1898, Scottish ophthalmologist Marcus Gunn showed that changes in retinal blood vessels could indicate hypertension. Today, however, the new discipline oculomics has proved that the eyes can reveal an extraordinary amount of information about a person’s systemic health, including whether they are at risk of developing heart disease or Alzheimer’s. 

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