Purpose: To develop and assess a method for predicting the likelihood of converting from early/intermediate to advanced wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging and methods of deep learning.
Methods: Seventy-one eyes of 71 patients with confirmed early/intermediate AMD with contralateral wet AMD were imaged with OCT three times over 2 years (baseline, year 1, year 2). These eyes were divided into two groups: eyes that had not converted to wet AMD (n = 40) at year 2 and those that had (n = 31). Two deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) were evaluated using 5-fold cross validation on the OCT data at baseline to attempt to predict which eyes would convert to advanced AMD at year 2: (1) VGG16, a popular CNN for image recognition was fine-tuned, and (2) a novel, simplified CNN architecture was trained from scratch. Preprocessing was added in the form of a segmentation-based normalization to reduce variance in the data and improve performance.
Results: Our new architecture, AMDnet, with preprocessing, achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) of 0.89 at the B-scan level and 0.91 for volumes. Results for VGG16, an established CNN architecture, with preprocessing were 0.82 for B-scans/0.87 for volumes versus 0.66 for B-scans/0.69 for volumes without preprocessing.
Conclusions: A CNN with layer segmentation-based preprocessing shows strong predictive power for the progression of early/intermediate AMD to advanced AMD. Use of the preprocessing was shown to improve performance regardless of the network architecture.