Retinal vessel segmentation using the 2-D Gabor wavelet and supervised classification

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2006 Sep;25(9):1214-22. doi: 10.1109/tmi.2006.879967.


We present a method for automated segmentation of the vasculature in retinal images. The method produces segmentations by classifying each image pixel as vessel or nonvessel, based on the pixel's feature vector. Feature vectors are composed of the pixel's intensity and two-dimensional Gabor wavelet transform responses taken at multiple scales. The Gabor wavelet is capable of tuning to specific frequencies, thus allowing noise filtering and vessel enhancement in a single step. We use a Bayesian classifier with class-conditional probability density functions (likelihoods) described as Gaussian mixtures, yielding a fast classification, while being able to model complex decision surfaces. The probability distributions are estimated based on a training set of labeled pixels obtained from manual segmentations. The method's performance is evaluated on publicly available DRIVE (Staal et al., 2004) and STARE (Hoover et al., 2000) databases of manually labeled images. On the DRIVE database, it achieves an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.9614, being slightly superior than that presented by state-of-the-art approaches. We are making our implementation available as open source MATLAB scripts for researchers interested in implementation details, evaluation, or development of methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Vessels / anatomy & histology*
  • Retinoscopy / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity