Author(s): Liu J, Jung H, Dubra A, Tam J. Automated photoreceptor cell identification on nonconfocal adaptive optics images using multiscale circular voting. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Sep 1;58(11):4477-4489. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-21003. PMID 28873173
PURPOSE Adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) has enabled quantification of the photoreceptor mosaic in the living human eye using metrics such as cell density and average spacing. These rely on the identification of individual cells. Here, we demonstrate a novel approach for computer-aided identification of cone photoreceptors on nonconfocal split detection AOSLO images.
METHODS Algorithms for identification of cone photoreceptors were developed, based on multiscale circular voting (MSCV) in combination with a priori knowledge that split detection images resemble Nomarski differential interference contrast images, in which dark and bright regions are present on the two sides of each cell. The proposed algorithm locates dark and bright region pairs, iteratively refining the identification across multiple scales. Identification accuracy was assessed in data from 10 subjects by comparing automated identifications with manual labeling, followed by computation of density and spacing metrics for comparison to histology and published data.
RESULTS There was good agreement between manual and automated cone identifications with overall recall, precision, and F1 score of 92.9%, 90.8%, and 91.8%, respectively. On average, computed density and spacing values using automated identification were within 10.7% and 11.2% of the expected histology values across eccentricities ranging from 0.5 to 6.2 mm. There was no statistically significant difference between MSCV-based and histology-based density measurements (P = 0.96, Kolmogorov-Smirnov 2-sample test).
CONCLUSIONS MSCV can accurately detect cone photoreceptors on split detection images across a range of eccentricities, enabling quick, objective estimation of photoreceptor mosaic metrics, which will be important for future clinical trials utilizing adaptive optics.