Loosely coupled level sets for simultaneous 3D retinal layer segmentation in optical coherence tomography

Jelena Novosel, Gijs Thepass, Hans G Lemij, Johannes F de Boer, Koenraad A Vermeer, Lucas J van Vliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) yields high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the retina. Reliable segmentation of the retinal layers is necessary for the extraction of clinically useful information. We present a novel segmentation method that operates on attenuation coefficients and incorporates anatomical knowledge about the retina. The attenuation coefficients are derived from in-vivo human retinal OCT data and represent an optical property of the tissue. Then, the layers in the retina are simultaneously segmented via a new flexible coupling approach that exploits the predefined order of the layers. The accuracy of the method was evaluated on 20 peripapillary scans of healthy subjects. Ten of those subjects were imaged again to evaluate the reproducibility. An additional evaluation was performed to examine the robustness of the method on a variety of data: scans of glaucoma patients, macular scans and scans by a two different OCT imaging devices. A very good agreement on all data was found between the manual segmentation performed by a medical doctor and the segmentation obtained by the automatic method. The mean absolute deviation for all interfaces in all data types varied between 1.9 and 8.5 µm (0.5-2.2 pixels). The reproducibility of the automatic method was similar to the reproducibility of the manual segmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-58
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Algorithms
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement/methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional/methods
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated/methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retina/anatomy & histology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence/methods


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