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PLoS One. 2016 Aug 26;11(8):e0161556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161556. eCollection 2016.

Retinal Microaneurysms Detection Using Gradient Vector Analysis and Class Imbalance Classification.

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School of Computer Science and Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China.
Department of New Media Technologies and Arts, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China.


Retinal microaneurysms (MAs) are the earliest clinically observable lesions of diabetic retinopathy. Reliable automated MAs detection is thus critical for early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. This paper proposes a novel method for the automated MAs detection in color fundus images based on gradient vector analysis and class imbalance classification, which is composed of two stages, i.e. candidate MAs extraction and classification. In the first stage, a candidate MAs extraction algorithm is devised by analyzing the gradient field of the image, in which a multi-scale log condition number map is computed based on the gradient vectors for vessel removal, and then the candidate MAs are localized according to the second order directional derivatives computed in different directions. Due to the complexity of fundus image, besides a small number of true MAs, there are also a large amount of non-MAs in the extracted candidates. Classifying the true MAs and the non-MAs is an extremely class imbalanced classification problem. Therefore, in the second stage, several types of features including geometry, contrast, intensity, edge, texture, region descriptors and other features are extracted from the candidate MAs and a class imbalance classifier, i.e., RUSBoost, is trained for the MAs classification. With the Retinopathy Online Challenge (ROC) criterion, the proposed method achieves an average sensitivity of 0.433 at 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4 and 8 false positives per image on the ROC database, which is comparable with the state-of-the-art approaches, and 0.321 on the DiaRetDB1 V2.1 database, which outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches.

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