Beyond Retinal Layers: A Deep Voting Model for Automated Geographic Atrophy Segmentation in SD-OCT Images

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2018 Jan 2;7(1):1. doi: 10.1167/tvst.7.1.1. eCollection 2018 Jan.


Purpose: To automatically and accurately segment geographic atrophy (GA) in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) images by constructing a voting system with deep neural networks without the use of retinal layer segmentation.

Methods: An automatic GA segmentation method for SD-OCT images based on the deep network was constructed. The structure of the deep network was composed of five layers, including one input layer, three hidden layers, and one output layer. During the training phase, the labeled A-scans with 1024 features were directly fed into the network as the input layer to obtain the deep representations. Then a soft-max classifier was trained to determine the label of each individual pixel. Finally, a voting decision strategy was used to refine the segmentation results among 10 trained models.

Results: Two image data sets with GA were used to evaluate the model. For the first dataset, our algorithm obtained a mean overlap ratio (OR) 86.94% ± 8.75%, absolute area difference (AAD) 11.49% ± 11.50%, and correlation coefficients (CC) 0.9857; for the second dataset, the mean OR, AAD, and CC of the proposed method were 81.66% ± 10.93%, 8.30% ± 9.09%, and 0.9952, respectively. The proposed algorithm was capable of improving over 5% and 10% segmentation accuracy, respectively, when compared with several state-of-the-art algorithms on two data sets.

Conclusions: Without retinal layer segmentation, the proposed algorithm could produce higher segmentation accuracy and was more stable when compared with state-of-the-art methods that relied on retinal layer segmentation results. Our model may provide reliable GA segmentations from SD-OCT images and be useful in the clinical diagnosis of advanced nonexudative AMD.

Translational relevance: Based on the deep neural networks, this study presents an accurate GA segmentation method for SD-OCT images without using any retinal layer segmentation results, and may contribute to improved understanding of advanced nonexudative AMD.

Keywords: deep network; geographic atrophy; image segmentation; spectral-domain optical coherence tomography; voting.