Automated segmentation of the optic nerve head for diagnosis of glaucoma

Med Image Anal. 2005 Aug;9(4):297-314. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2005 Apr 8.


Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide. Low awareness and high costs connected to glaucoma are reasons to improve methods of screening and therapy. A well-established method for diagnosis of glaucoma is the examination of the optic nerve head using scanning-laser-tomography. This system acquires and analyzes the surface topography of the optic nerve head. The analysis that leads to a diagnosis of the disease depends on prior manual outlining of the optic nerve head by an experienced ophthalmologist. Our contribution presents a method for optic nerve head segmentation and its validation. The method is based on morphological operations, Hough transform, and an anchored active contour model. The results were validated by comparing the performance of different classifiers on data from a case-control study with contours of the optic nerve head manually outlined by an experienced ophthalmologist. We achieved the following results with respect to glaucoma diagnosis: linear discriminant analysis with 27.7% estimated error rate for automated segmentation (aut) and 26.8% estimated error rate for manual segmentation (man), classification trees with 25.2% (aut) and 22.0% (man) and bootstrap aggregation with 22.2% (aut) and 13.4% (man). It could thus be shown that our approach is suitable for automated diagnosis and screening of glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Automation
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface