Automatic analysis of diabetic peripheral neuropathy using multi-scale quantitative morphology of nerve fibres in corneal confocal microscopy imaging

Med Image Anal. 2011 Oct;15(5):738-47. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Jun 13.


Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is one of the most common long term complications of diabetes. Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) image analysis is a novel non-invasive technique which quantifies corneal nerve fibre damage and enables diagnosis of DPN. This paper presents an automatic analysis and classification system for detecting nerve fibres in CCM images based on a multi-scale adaptive dual-model detection algorithm. The algorithm exploits the curvilinear structure of the nerve fibres and adapts itself to the local image information. Detected nerve fibres are then quantified and used as feature vectors for classification using random forest (RF) and neural networks (NNT) classifiers. We show, in a comparative study with other well known curvilinear detectors, that the best performance is achieved by the multi-scale dual model in conjunction with the NNT classifier. An evaluation of clinical effectiveness shows that the performance of the automated system matches that of ground-truth defined by expert manual annotation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Cornea / innervation*
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology*
  • Ophthalmoscopy / methods
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity