Automatic estimation of retinal nerve fiber bundle orientation in SD-OCT images using a structure-oriented smoothing filter

Babak Ghafaryasl, Robert Baart, Lucas J van Vliet, Johannes F de Boer, Koenraad Arndt Vermeer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) yields high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the retina. A better understanding of retinal nerve fiber bundle (RNFB) trajectories in combination with visual field data may be used for future diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma. However, manual tracing of these bundles is a tedious task. In this work, we present an automatic technique to estimate the orientation of RNFBs from volumetric OCT scans. Our method consists of several steps, starting from automatic segmentation of the RNFL. Then, a stack of en face images around the posterior nerve fiber layer interface was extracted. The image showing the best visibility of RNFB trajectories was selected for further processing. After denoising the selected en face image, a semblance structure-oriented filter was applied to probe the strength of local linear structure in a discrete set of orientations creating an orientation space. Gaussian filtering along the orientation axis in this space is used to find the dominant orientation. Next, a confidence map was created to supplement the estimated orientation. This confidence map was used as pixel weight in normalized convolution to regularize the semblance filter response after which a new orientation estimate can be obtained. Finally, after several iterations an orientation field corresponding to the strongest local orientation was obtained. The RNFB orientations of six macular scans from three subjects were estimated. For all scans, visual inspection shows a good agreement between the estimated orientation fields and the RNFB trajectories in the en face images. Additionally, a good correlation between the orientation fields of two scans of the same subject was observed. Our method was also applied to a larger field of view around the macula. Manual tracing of the RNFB trajectories shows a good agreement with the automatically obtained streamlines obtained by fiber tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. SPIE 10133, Medical Imaging 2017: Image Processing
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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