Individual Drusen Segmentation and Repeatability and Reproducibility of Their Automated Quantification in Optical Coherence Tomography Images

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2017 Feb 28;6(1):12. doi: 10.1167/tvst.6.1.12. eCollection 2017 Feb.


Purpose: To introduce a novel method to segment individual drusen in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and evaluate its accuracy, and repeatability/reproducibility of drusen quantifications extracted from the segmentation results.

Methods: Our method uses a smooth interpolation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) outer boundary, fitted to candidate locations in proximity to Bruch's Membrane, to identify regions of substantial lifting in the inner-RPE or inner-segment boundaries, and then separates and evaluates individual druse independently. The study included 192 eyes from 129 patients. Accuracy of drusen segmentations was evaluated measuring the overlap ratio (OR) with manual markings, also comparing the results to a previously proposed method. Repeatability and reproducibility across scanning protocols of automated drusen quantifications were investigated in repeated SD-OCT volume pairs and compared with those measured by a commercial tool (Cirrus HD-OCT).

Results: Our segmentation method produced higher accuracy than a previously proposed method, showing similar differences to manual markings (0.72 ± 0.09 OR) as the measured intra- and interreader variability (0.78 ± 0.09 and 0.77 ± 0.09, respectively). The automated quantifications displayed high repeatability and reproducibility, showing a more stable behavior across scanning protocols in drusen area and volume measurements than the commercial software. Measurements of drusen slope and mean intensity showed significant differences across protocols.

Conclusion: Automated drusen outlines produced by our method show promising accurate results that seem relatively stable in repeated scans using the same or different scanning protocols.

Translational relevance: The proposed method represents a viable tool to measure and track drusen measurements in early or intermediate age-related macular degeneration patients.

Keywords: AMD; SC-OCT; drusen; segmentation.