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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2014;2014:6320-3. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2014.6945074.

Comprehensive automatic assessment of retinal vascular abnormalities for computer-assisted retinopathy grading.


One of the most important signs of systemic disease that presents on the retina is vascular abnormalities such as in hypertensive retinopathy. Manual analysis of fundus images by human readers is qualitative and lacks in accuracy, consistency and repeatability. Present semi-automatic methods for vascular evaluation are reported to increase accuracy and reduce reader variability, but require extensive reader interaction; thus limiting the software-aided efficiency. Automation thus holds a twofold promise. First, decrease variability while increasing accuracy, and second, increasing the efficiency. In this paper we propose fully automated software as a second reader system for comprehensive assessment of retinal vasculature; which aids the readers in the quantitative characterization of vessel abnormalities in fundus images. This system provides the reader with objective measures of vascular morphology such as tortuosity, branching angles, as well as highlights of areas with abnormalities such as artery-venous nicking, copper and silver wiring, and retinal emboli; in order for the reader to make a final screening decision. To test the efficacy of our system, we evaluated the change in performance of a newly certified retinal reader when grading a set of 40 color fundus images with and without the assistance of the software. The results demonstrated an improvement in reader's performance with the software assistance, in terms of accuracy of detection of vessel abnormalities, determination of retinopathy, and reading time. This system enables the reader in making computer-assisted vasculature assessment with high accuracy and consistency, at a reduced reading time.

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