Optic disc detection from normalized digital fundus images by means of a vessels' direction matched filter

A R Youssif, A Z Ghalwash, A R Ghoneim
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging 2008, 27 (1): 11-8
Optic disc (OD) detection is a main step while developing automated screening systems for diabetic retinopathy. We present in this paper a method to automatically detect the position of the OD in digital retinal fundus images. The method starts by normalizing luminosity and contrast through out the image using illumination equalization and adaptive histogram equalization methods respectively. The OD detection algorithm is based on matching the expected directional pattern of the retinal blood vessels. Hence, a simple matched filter is proposed to roughly match the direction of the vessels at the OD vicinity. The retinal vessels are segmented using a simple and standard 2-D Gaussian matched filter. Consequently, a vessels direction map of the segmented retinal vessels is obtained using the same segmentation algorithm. The segmented vessels are then thinned, and filtered using local intensity, to represent finally the OD-center candidates. The difference between the proposed matched filter resized into four different sizes, and the vessels' directions at the surrounding area of each of the OD-center candidates is measured. The minimum difference provides an estimate of the OD-center coordinates. The proposed method was evaluated using a subset of the STARE project's dataset, containing 81 fundus images of both normal and diseased retinas, and initially used by literature OD detection methods. The OD-center was detected correctly in 80 out of the 81 images (98.77%). In addition, the OD-center was detected correctly in all of the 40 images (100%) using the publicly available DRIVE dataset.

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