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In Translational vision science & technology

Purpose : To compare change over time in eye-specific optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL)-based region-of-interest (ROI) maps developed using unsupervised deep-learning auto-encoders (DL-AE) to circumpapillary RNFL (cpRNFL) thickness for the detection of glaucomatous progression.

Methods : Forty-four progressing glaucoma eyes (by stereophotograph assessment), 189 nonprogressing glaucoma eyes (by stereophotograph assessment), and 109 healthy eyes were followed for ≥3 years with ≥4 visits using OCT. The San Diego Automated Layer Segmentation Algorithm was used to automatically segment the RNFL layer from raw three-dimensional OCT images. For each longitudinal series, DL-AEs were used to generate individualized eye-based ROI maps by identifying RNFL regions of likely progression and no change. Sensitivities and specificities for detecting change over time and rates of change over time were compared for the DL-AE ROI and global cpRNFL thickness measurements derived from a 2.22-mm to 3.45-mm annulus centered on the optic disc.

Results : The sensitivity for detecting change in progressing eyes was greater for DL-AE ROIs than for global cpRNFL annulus thicknesses (0.90 and 0.63, respectively). The specificity for detecting not likely progression in nonprogressing eyes was similar (0.92 and 0.93, respectively). The mean rates of change in DL-AE ROI were significantly faster than for cpRNFL annulus thickness in progressing eyes (-1.28 µm/y vs. -0.83 µm/y) and nonprogressing eyes (-1.03 µm/y vs. -0.78 µm/y).

Conclusions : Eye-specific ROIs identified using DL-AE analysis of OCT images show promise for improving assessment of glaucomatous progression.

Translational Relevance : The detection and monitoring of structural glaucomatous progression can be improved by considering eye-specific regions of likely progression identified using deep learning.

Bowd Christopher, Belghith Akram, Christopher Mark, Goldbaum Michael H, Fazio Massimo A, Girkin Christopher A, Liebmann Jeffrey M, de Moraes Carlos Gustavo, Weinreb Robert N, Zangwill Linda M