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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2007 Aug;54(8):1427-35.

Automatic identification of retinal arteries and veins from dual-wavelength images using structural and functional features.

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Carl Zeiss Meditec, Dublin, CA 94568, USA.


This paper presents an automated method to identify arteries and veins in dual-wavelength retinal fundus images recorded at 570 and 600 nm. Dual-wavelength imaging provides both structural and functional features that can be exploited for identification. The processing begins with automated tracing of the vessels from the 570-nm image. The 600-nm image is registered to this image, and structural and functional features are computed for each vessel segment. We use the relative strength of the vessel central reflex as the structural feature. The central reflex phenomenon, caused by light reflection from vessel surfaces that are parallel to the incident light, is especially pronounced at longer wavelengths for arteries compared to veins. We use a dual-Gaussian to model the cross-sectional intensity profile of vessels. The model parameters are estimated using a robust M-estimator, and the relative strength of the central reflex is computed from these parameters. The functional feature exploits the fact that arterial blood is more oxygenated relative to that in veins. This motivates use of the ratio of the vessel optical densities (ODs) from images at oxygen-sensitive and oxygen-insensitive wavelengths (ODR = OD600/OD570) as a functional indicator. Finally, the structural and functional features are combined in a classifier to identify the type of the vessel. We experimented with four different classifiers and the best result was given by a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. With the SVM classifier, the proposed algorithm achieved true positive rates of 97% for the arteries and 90% for the veins, when applied to a set of 251 vessel segments obtained from 25 dual wavelength images. The ability to identify the vessel type is useful in applications such as automated retinal vessel oximetry and automated analysis of vascular changes without manual intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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