Semi-automated identification of cones in the human retina using circle Hough transform

Biomed Opt Express. 2015 Nov 3;6(12):4676-93. doi: 10.1364/BOE.6.004676. eCollection 2015 Dec 1.


A large number of human retinal diseases are characterized by a progressive loss of cones, the photoreceptors critical for visual acuity and color perception. Adaptive Optics (AO) imaging presents a potential method to study these cells in vivo. However, AO imaging in ophthalmology is a relatively new phenomenon and quantitative analysis of these images remains difficult and tedious using manual methods. This paper illustrates a novel semi-automated quantitative technique enabling registration of AO images to macular landmarks, cone counting and its radius quantification at specified distances from the foveal center. The new cone counting approach employs the circle Hough transform (cHT) and is compared to automated counting methods, as well as arbitrated manual cone identification. We explore the impact of varying the circle detection parameter on the validity of cHT cone counting and discuss the potential role of using this algorithm in detecting both cones and rods separately.

Keywords: (100.0100) Image processing; (110.1080) Active or adaptive optics; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (170.4470) Ophthalmology.