Unsupervised Machine Learning Identifies Quantifiable Patterns of Visual Field Loss in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2021 Aug 2;10(9):37. doi: 10.1167/tvst.10.9.37.


Purpose: Archetypal analysis, a form of unsupervised machine learning, identifies archetypal patterns within a visual field (VF) dataset such that any VF is described as a weighted sum of its archetypes (ATs) and has been used to quantify VF defects in glaucoma. We applied archetypal analysis to VFs affected by nonglaucomatous optic neuropathy caused by idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

Methods: We created an AT model from 2862 VFs prospectively collected from 330 eyes in the IIH Treatment Trial (IIHTT). We compared baseline IIH AT patterns with their descriptive VF classifications from the IIHTT.

Results: The optimum IIH AT model yielded 14 ATs resembling VF patterns reported in the IIHTT. Baseline VFs contained four or fewer meaningful ATs in 147 (89%) of study eyes. AT2 (mild general VF depression pattern) demonstrated the greatest number of study eyes with meaningful AT weight at baseline (n = 114), followed by AT1 (n = 91). Other ATs captured patterns of blind spot enlargement, hemianopia, arcuate, nasal defects, and more nonspecific patterns of general VF depression. Of all ATs, AT1 (normal pattern) had the strongest correlation with mean deviation (r = 0.69, P < 0.001). For 65 of the 93 VFs with a dominant AT, this AT matched the expert classification.

Conclusions: Archetypal analysis identifies quantifiable, archetypal VF defects that resemble those commonly seen in IIH.

Translational relevance: Archetypal analysis provides a quantitative, objective method of measuring and monitoring disease-specific regional VF defects in IIH.