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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Nov 1;53(12):7510-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10311.

Automated segmentation of the choroid from clinical SD-OCT.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



We developed and evaluated a fully automated 3-dimensional (3D) method for segmentation of the choroidal vessels, and quantification of choroidal vasculature thickness and choriocapillaris-equivalent thickness of the macula, and evaluated repeat variability in normal subjects using standard clinically available spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).


A total of 24 normal subjects was imaged twice, using clinically available, 3D SD-OCT. A novel, fully-automated 3D method was used to segment and visualize the choroidal vasculature in macular scans. Local choroidal vasculature and choriocapillaris-equivalent thicknesses were determined. Reproducibility on repeat imaging was analyzed using overlapping rates, Dice coefficient, and root mean square coefficient of variation (CV) of choroidal vasculature and choriocapillaris-equivalent thicknesses.


For the 6 × 6 mm(2) macula-centered region as depicted by the SD-OCT, average choroidal vasculature thickness in normal subjects was 172.1 μm (95% confidence interval [CI] 163.7-180.5 μm) and average choriocapillaris-equivalent thickness was 23.1 μm (95% CI 20.0-26.2 μm). Overlapping rates were 0.79 ± 0.07 and 0.75 ± 0.06, Dice coefficient was 0.78 ± 0.08, CV of choroidal vasculature thickness was 8.0% (95% CI 6.3%-9.4%), and of choriocapillaris-equivalent thickness was 27.9% (95% CI 21.0%-33.3%).


Fully automated 3D segmentation and quantitative analysis of the choroidal vasculature and choriocapillaris-equivalent thickness demonstrated excellent reproducibility in repeat scans (CV 8.0%) and good reproducibility of choriocapillaris-equivalent thickness (CV 27.9%). Our method has the potential to improve the diagnosis and management of patients with eye diseases in which the choroid is affected.

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