Detection of Macula and Recognition of Aged-Related Macular Degeneration in Retinal Fundus Images

keywords: Medical image processing, contrast enhancement, macula detection, retinal fundus image, blood vessels segmentation
In aged people, the central vision is affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). From the digital retinal fundus images, AMD can be recognized because of the existence of Drusen, Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV), and Geographic Atrophy (GA). It is time-consuming and costly for the ophthalmologists to monitor fundus images. A monitoring system for automated digital fundus photography can reduce these problems. In this paper, we propose a new macula detection system based on contrast enhancement, top-hat transformation, and the modified Kirsch template method. Firstly, the retinal fundus image is processed through an image enhancement method so that the intensity distribution is improved for finer visualization. The contrast-enhanced image is further improved using the top-hat transformation function to make the intensities level differentiable between the macula and different sections of images. The retinal vessel is enhanced by employing the modified Kirsch's template method. It enhances the vasculature structures and suppresses the blob-like structures. Furthermore, the OTSU thresholding is used to segment out the dark regions and separate the vessel to extract the candidate regions. The dark region and the background estimated image are subtracted from the extracted blood vessels image to obtain the exact location of the macula. The proposed method applied on 1349 images of STARE, DRIVE, MESSIDOR, and DIARETDB1 databases and achieved the average sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predicted value, F1 score, and area under curve of 97.79 %, 97.65 %, 97.60 %, 97.38 %, 97.57 %, and 96.97 %, respectively. Experimental results reveal that the proposed method attains better performance, in terms of visual quality and enriched quantitative analysis, in comparison with eminent state-of-the-art methods.
mathematics subject classification 2000: 68U10
reference: Vol. 40, 2021, No. 5, pp. 957–987