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In Frontiers in public health

Purpose : To apply deep learning (DL) techniques to develop an automatic intelligent classification system identifying the specific types of myopic maculopathy (MM) based on macular optical coherence tomography (OCT) images using transfer learning (TL).

Method : In this retrospective study, a total of 3,945 macular OCT images from 2,866 myopic patients were recruited from the ophthalmic outpatients of three hospitals. After culling out 545 images with poor quality, a dataset containing 3,400 macular OCT images was manually classified according to the ATN system, containing four types of MM with high OCT diagnostic values. Two DL classification algorithms were trained to identify the targeted lesion categories: Algorithm A was trained from scratch, and algorithm B using the TL approach initiated from the classification algorithm developed in our previous study. After comparing the training process, the algorithm with better performance was tested and validated. The performance of the classification algorithm in the test and validation sets was evaluated using metrics including sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, quadratic-weighted kappa score, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). Moreover, the human-machine comparison was conducted. To better evaluate the algorithm and clarify the optimization direction, the dimensionality reduction analysis and heat map analysis were also used to visually analyze the algorithm.

Results : Algorithm B showed better performance in the training process. In the test set, the algorithm B achieved relatively robust performance with macro AUC, accuracy, and quadratic-weighted kappa of 0.986, 96.04% (95% CI: 0.951, 0.969), and 0.940 (95% CI: 0.909-0.971), respectively. In the external validation set, the performance of algorithm B was slightly inferior to that in the test set. In human-machine comparison test, the algorithm indicators were inferior to the retinal specialists but were the same as the ordinary ophthalmologists. In addition, dimensionality reduction visualization and heatmap visualization analysis showed excellent performance of the algorithm.

Conclusion : Our macular OCT image classification algorithm developed using the TL approach exhibited excellent performance. The automatic diagnosis system for macular OCT images of MM based on DL showed potential application prospects.

He Xiaoying, Ren Peifang, Lu Li, Tang Xuyuan, Wang Jun, Yang Zixuan, Han Wei


ATN classification system, artificial intelligence, deep learning, myopia maculopathy, optical coherence tomography, pathologic myopia