Digital ocular fundus imaging: a review

Ophthalmologica. 2011;226(4):161-81. doi: 10.1159/000329597. Epub 2011 Sep 22.


Ocular fundus imaging plays a key role in monitoring the health status of the human eye. Currently, a large number of imaging modalities allow the assessment and/or quantification of ocular changes from a healthy status. This review focuses on the main digital fundus imaging modality, color fundus photography, with a brief overview of complementary techniques, such as fluorescein angiography. While focusing on two-dimensional color fundus photography, the authors address the evolution from nondigital to digital imaging and its impact on diagnosis. They also compare several studies performed along the transitional path of this technology. Retinal image processing and analysis, automated disease detection and identification of the stage of diabetic retinopathy (DR) are addressed as well. The authors emphasize the problems of image segmentation, focusing on the major landmark structures of the ocular fundus: the vascular network, optic disk and the fovea. Several proposed approaches for the automatic detection of signs of disease onset and progression, such as microaneurysms, are surveyed. A thorough comparison is conducted among different studies with regard to the number of eyes/subjects, imaging modality, fundus camera used, field of view and image resolution to identify the large variation in characteristics from one study to another. Similarly, the main features of the proposed classifications and algorithms for the automatic detection of DR are compared, thereby addressing computer-aided diagnosis and computer-aided detection for use in screening programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Photography*
  • Retina / pathology*
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*