Visual Perception Based Assistance for Fundus Image Readers

Rangrej Bharat


Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a condition where individuals with diabetes develop a disease in the inner wall of eye known as retina. DR is a major cause of visual impairments and early detection can prevent vision loss. Use of automatic systems for DR diagnosis is limited due to their lower accuracy. As an alternative, reading-centers are becoming popular in real-world scenarios. Reading center is a facility where retinal images coming from various sources are stored and trained personals(who might not be experts) analyze them. In this thesis we look at techniques to increase efficiency of DR image-readers working in reading centers. The first half of this thesis aims at identifying efficient image-reading technique which is both fast and accurate. Towards this end we have conducted an eye-tracking study with medical experts while they were reading images for DR diagnosis. The analysis shows that experts employ mainly two types of reading strategies: dwelling and tracing. Dwelling strategy appears to be accurate and faster than tracing strategy. Eye movements of all the experts are combined in a novel way to extract an optimal image scanning strategy, which can be recommended to image-readers for efficient diagnosis. In order to increase the efficiency further, we propose a technique where saliency of lesions can be boosted for better visibility of lesions. This is named as an Assistive Lesion Emphasis System(ALES) and demonstrated in the second half of the thesis. ALES is developed as a two stage system: saliency detection and lesion emphasis. Two biologically inspired saliency models, which mimic human visual system, are designed using unsupervised and supervised techniques. Unsupervised saliency model is inspired from human visual system and achieved 10% higher recall than other existing saliency models when compared with average gazemap of 15 retinal experts. Supervised saliency model developed as deep learning based implementation of biologically inspired saliency model proposed by Itti-Koch(Itti, L., Koch, C. and Niebur, E., 1998) and achieves 10% to 20% higher AUC compared to existing saliency model when compared with manual markings. Saliency maps generated by these models are used to boost the prominence of lesions locally. This is done using two types of selective enhancement techniques. One technique uses multiscale fusion of saliency map with original image and other uses spatially varying gamma correction; both increases CNR of lesions by 30%. One saliency model and one selective-enhancement technique are clubbed together to illustrate two complete ALESs. DR diagnosis done by analyzing ALES output using optimal strategy should presumably be faster and accurate.


Year of completion:  July 2017
 Advisor : Jayanthi Sivaswamy

Related Publications

  • Karthik G, Rangrej S and Jayanthi Sivaswamy - A deep learning framework for segmentation of retinal layers from OCT images ACPR, Nanjing [PDF]

  • Rangrej Bbharat and Jayanthi SivaswamyALES: an assistive system for fundus image readers Journal of Medical Imaging, 4, Issue: 02, April 2017 [PDF]

  • Samrudhdhi B. Rangrej and Jayanthi Sivaswamy - A biologically inspired saliency model for color fundus images Proceedings of the Tenth Indian Conference on Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing. ACM, 2016. [PDF]