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In Journal of biomedical optics

SIGNIFICANCE : Automatic and accurate classification of three-dimensional (3-D) retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) images is essential for assisting ophthalmologist in the diagnosis and grading of macular diseases. Therefore, more effective OCT volume classification for automatic recognition of macular diseases is needed.

AIM : For OCT volumes in which only OCT volume-level labels are known, OCT volume classifiers based on its global feature and deep learning are designed, validated, and compared with other methods.

APPROACH : We present a general framework to classify OCT volume for automatic recognizing macular diseases. The architecture of the framework consists of three modules: B-scan feature extractor, two-dimensional (2-D) feature map generation, and volume-level classifier. Our architecture could address OCT volume classification using two 2-D image machine learning classification algorithms. Specifically, a convolutional neural network (CNN) model is trained and used as a B-scan feature extractor to construct a 2-D feature map of an OCT volume and volume-level classifiers such as support vector machine and CNN with/without attention mechanism for 2-D feature maps are described.

RESULTS : Our proposed methods are validated on the publicly available Duke dataset, which consists of 269 intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) volumes and 115 normal volumes. Fivefold cross-validation was done, and average accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of 98.17%, 99.26%, and 95.65%, respectively, are achieved. The experiments show that our methods outperform the state-of-the-art methods. Our methods are also validated on our private clinical OCT volume dataset, consisting of 448 AMD volumes and 462 diabetic macular edema volumes.

CONCLUSIONS : We present a general framework of OCT volume classification based on its 2-D feature map and CNN with attention mechanism and describe its implementation schemes. Our proposed methods could classify OCT volumes automatically and effectively with high accuracy, and they are a potential practical tool for screening of ophthalmic diseases from OCT volume.

Sun Yankui, Zhang Haoran, Yao Xianlin


attention mechanism, convolutional neural network, image classification, optical coherence tomography, transfer learning