A new partnership between Nikon's subsidiary Optos, and Alphabet's research organization Verily Life Sciences (formerly known as Google Life Sciences) will look at developing new machine learning-enabled retina screening processes to help diagnose diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, the leading causes of blindness among adults around the world.

According to the World Health Organization diabetes rates are rising in parts of the world, specifically in low or middle-income countries. There's an expectation that we will see an increase in diabetic patients with vision impairment, but improved access and screening rates may help prevent disease progression and blindness.

Nikon announced the strategic alliance in a press release:

Through an exclusive collaboration in numerous geographies, Nikon (including its subsidiary Optos) and Verily will co-develop solutions for the earlier detection of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. The partnership will combine Nikon's leadership in optical engineering and precision manufacturing, its proprietary ultra-widefield technology and strong commercial presence among eyecare specialists, and Verily's machine learning technology. Together, Nikon and Verily will work to provide innovative medical solutions to assist physicians, and address a broad population of diabetic patients.

This is fantastic news given all the great advancements in machine learning we've seen over the past years. Here's hoping we hear about some great advancements from this partnership in 2017, and here's to more great collaborative efforts like this in the future.