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Optom Vis Sci. 2016 Nov;93(11):1387-1398.

Validation of Macular Choroidal Thickness Measurements from Automated SD-OCT Image Segmentation.

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*OD, PhD, FAAO †OD, FAAO ‡PhD School of Optometry (MDT), Department of Biomedical Engineering (MDT), University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; College of Optometry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas (KLS, DAB); Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (SJC, SF); and Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina (SF).



Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging permits in vivo visualization of the choroid with micron-level resolution over wide areas and is of interest for studies of ocular growth and myopia control. We evaluated the speed, repeatability, and accuracy of a new image segmentation method to quantify choroid thickness compared to manual segmentation.


Two macular volumetric scans (25 × 30°) were taken from 30 eyes of 30 young adult subjects in two sessions, 1 hour apart. A single rater manually delineated choroid thickness as the distance between Bruch's membrane and sclera across three B-scans (foveal, inferior, and superior-most scan locations). Manual segmentation was compared to an automated method based on graph theory, dynamic programming, and wavelet-based texture analysis. Segmentation performance comparisons included processing speed, choroid thickness measurements across the foveal horizontal midline, and measurement repeatability (95% limits of agreement (LoA)).


Subjects were healthy young adults (n = 30; 24 ± 2 years; mean ± SD; 63% female) with spherical equivalent refractive error of -3.46 ± 2.69D (range: +2.62 to -8.50D). Manual segmentation took 200 times longer than automated segmentation (780 vs. 4 seconds). Mean choroid thickness at the foveal center was 263 ± 24 μm (manual) and 259 ± 23 μm (automated), and this difference was not significant (p = 0.10). Regional segmentation errors across the foveal horizontal midline (±15°) were ≤9 μm (median) except for nasal-most regions closest to the nasal peripapillary margin-15 degrees (19 μm) and 12 degrees (16 μm) from the foveal center. Repeatability of choroidal thickness measurements had similar repeatability between segmentation methods (manual LoA: ±15 μm; automated LoA: ±14 μm).


Automated segmentation of SD-OCT data by graph theory and dynamic programming is a fast, accurate, and reliable method to delineate the choroid. This approach will facilitate longitudinal studies evaluating changes in choroid thickness in response to novel optical corrections and in ocular disease.

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