Computer-based image analysis for plus disease diagnosis in retinopathy of prematurity

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. Jan-Feb 2012;49(1):11-9; quiz 10, 20. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20110222-01. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Presence of plus disease in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an important criterion for identifying ROP requiring treatment. Plus disease is defined by a standard published photograph selected more than 20 years ago by expert consensus. However, diagnosis of plus disease has been shown to be subjective and qualitative. Computer-based image analysis using quantitative methods has potential to improve the objectivity of plus disease diagnosis. The objective was to review the published literature involving computer-based image analysis for ROP diagnosis. The PubMed and Cochrane library databases were searched for the keywords "retinopathy of prematurity" AND "image analysis" AND/OR "plus disease." Reference lists of retrieved articles were searched to identify additional relevant studies. All relevant English-language studies were reviewed. There are four main computer-based systems-ROPtool (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC], plus tortuosity 0.95, plus dilation 0.87), RISA (AUROC, arteriolar TI 0.71, venular diameter 0.82), Vessel Map (AUROC, arteriolar dilation 0.75, venular dilation 0.96), and CAIAR (AUROC, arteriole tortuosity 0.92, venular dilation 0.91)-attempting to objectively analyze vessel tortuosity and dilation in plus disease in ROP. Some show promise for identification of plus disease using quantitative methods. This has potential to improve the diagnosis of plus disease and may contribute to the management of ROP using both traditional binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and image-based telemedicine approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / diagnosis*