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Computer-aided detection and abnormality score for the outer retinal layer in optical coherence tomography


Background To develop computer-aided detection (CADe) of ORL abnormalities in the retinal pigmented epithelium, interdigitation zone and ellipsoid zone via optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Methods In this retrospective study, healthy participants with normal ORL, and patients with abnormality of ORL including choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) or retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were included. First, an automatic segmentation deep learning (DL) algorithm, CADe, was developed for the three outer retinal layers using 120 handcraft masks of ORL. This automatic segmentation algorithm generated 4000 segmentations, which included 2000 images with normal ORL and 2000 (1000 CNV and 1000 RP) images with focal or wide defects in ORL. Second, based on the automatically generated segmentation images, a binary classifier (normal vs abnormal) was developed. Results were evaluated by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

Results The DL algorithm achieved an AUC of 0.984 (95% CI 0.976 to 0.993) for individual image evaluation in the internal test set of 797 images. In addition, performance analysis of a publicly available external test set (n=968) had an AUC of 0.957 (95% CI 0.944 to 0.970) and a second clinical external test set (n=1124) had an AUC of 0.978 (95% CI 0.970 to 0.986). Moreover, the CADe highlighted well normal parts of ORL and omitted highlights in abnormal ORLs of CNV and RP.

Conclusion The CADe can use OCT images to segment ORL and differentiate between normal ORL and abnormal ORL. The CADe classifier also performs visualisation and may aid future physician diagnosis and clinical applications.

  • epidemiology
  • imaging
  • retina
  • telemedicine

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable due to the violation of patient privacy and the absence of informed consent for data sharing. Data are available on reasonable request. Data from South Korea are available to researchers who meet the criteria for access to confidenctial data: request should be made to Sung Soo Kim, Department of Ophthalmology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea ( Reqeusts to data from the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases should be made to Ching-Yu Cheng, Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore (

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