Federated Learning in Ocular Imaging: Current Progress and Future Direction

Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 Nov 17;12(11):2835. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics12112835.


Advances in artificial intelligence deep learning (DL) have made tremendous impacts on the field of ocular imaging over the last few years. Specifically, DL has been utilised to detect and classify various ocular diseases on retinal photographs, optical coherence tomography (OCT) images, and OCT-angiography images. In order to achieve good robustness and generalisability of model performance, DL training strategies traditionally require extensive and diverse training datasets from various sites to be transferred and pooled into a "centralised location". However, such a data transferring process could raise practical concerns related to data security and patient privacy. Federated learning (FL) is a distributed collaborative learning paradigm which enables the coordination of multiple collaborators without the need for sharing confidential data. This distributed training approach has great potential to ensure data privacy among different institutions and reduce the potential risk of data leakage from data pooling or centralisation. This review article aims to introduce the concept of FL, provide current evidence of FL in ocular imaging, and discuss potential challenges as well as future applications.

Keywords: data security; deep learning; federated learning; ocular imaging; ophthalmology; patient privacy.

Publication types

  • Review