Even if you don't believe the eyes are the windows to the soul, they can still reveal a lot about your health. This is a photo of the back of someone's eyeball, known as the fundus, showing red blood vessels snaking out from the yellow optic disc, where nerve cells are 'wired' through to the brain. Easily taken by an optician, this kind of photograph can reveal signs of diseases that lead to sight loss, such as glaucoma or problems linked to diabetes. But it takes time and expertise to spot them. Now researchers are using crowdsourcing, harnessing hundreds of eyes belonging to the general public, to look at fundus photographs. A pilot study has shown that a group of regular people can quickly and accurately analyse the photos for signs of disease, potentially pointing to a cheap and effective way of trawling these valuable data.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.