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Biomed Opt Express. 2017 Sep 8;8(10):4396-4418. doi: 10.1364/BOE.8.004396. eCollection 2017 Oct 1.

Generation and optimization of superpixels as image processing kernels for Jones matrix optical coherence tomography.

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Computational Optics Group, University of Tsukuba, Tennodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8573, Japan.


Jones matrix-based polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography (JM-OCT) simultaneously measures optical intensity, birefringence, degree of polarization uniformity, and OCT angiography. The statistics of the optical features in a local region, such as the local mean of the OCT intensity, are frequently used for image processing and the quantitative analysis of JM-OCT. Conventionally, local statistics have been computed with fixed-size rectangular kernels. However, this results in a trade-off between image sharpness and statistical accuracy. We introduce a superpixel method to JM-OCT for generating the flexible kernels of local statistics. A superpixel is a cluster of image pixels that is formed by the pixels' spatial and signal value proximities. An algorithm for superpixel generation specialized for JM-OCT and its optimization methods are presented in this paper. The spatial proximity is in two-dimensional cross-sectional space and the signal values are the four optical features. Hence, the superpixel method is a six-dimensional clustering technique for JM-OCT pixels. The performance of the JM-OCT superpixels and its optimization methods are evaluated in detail using JM-OCT datasets of posterior eyes. The superpixels were found to well preserve tissue structures, such as layer structures, sclera, vessels, and retinal pigment epithelium. And hence, they are more suitable for local statistics kernels than conventional uniform rectangular kernels.


(100.2960) Image analysis; (110.4500) Optical coherence tomography; (170.4470) Ophthalmology; (170.4500) Optical coherence tomography

Conflict of interest statement

AM, YJH, DK: Topcon (F), Tomey Corporation (F), Nidek (F). SM, YY Topcon (F), Tomey Corporation (F, P), Nidek (F, P). YJH is currently employed by Koh Young Technology.

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