国家自然科学基金(62272404, 61972333); 湖南省自然科学基金(2022JJ30571); 湖南省教育厅优秀青年基金(21B0172); 长沙市科技重大专项(kh2202005)
视网膜层边界的形态变化是眼部视网膜疾病出现的重要标志, 光学相干断层扫描(optical coherence tomography, OCT)图像可以捕捉其细微变化, 基于OCT图像的视网膜层边界分割能够辅助相关疾病的临床判断. 在OCT图像中, 由于视网膜层边界的形态变化多样, 其中与边界相关的关键信息如上下文信息和显著性边界信息等对层边界的判断和分割至关重要. 然而已有分割方法缺乏对以上信息的考虑, 导致边界不完整和不连续. 针对以上问题, 提出一种“由粗到细”的基于端到端深度神经网络和图搜索(graph search, GS)的OCT图像视网膜层边界分割方法, 避免了非端到端方法中普遍存在的“断层”现象. 在粗分割阶段, 提出一种端到端的深度神经网络—注意力全局残差网络(attention global residual network, AGR-Net), 以更充分和有效的方式提取上述关键信息. 具体地, 首先设计一个全局特征模块(global feature module, GFM), 通过从图像的4个方向扫描以捕获OCT图像的全局上下文信息; 其次, 进一步将通道注意力模块(channel attention module, CAM)与全局特征模块串行组合并嵌入到主干网络中, 以实现视网膜层及其边界的上下文信息的显著性建模, 有效解决OCT图像中由于视网膜层形变和信息提取不充分所导致的误分割问题. 在细分割阶段, 采用图搜索算法去除AGR-Net粗分割结果中的孤立区域或和孔洞等, 保持边界的固定拓扑结构和连续平滑, 以实现整体分割结果的进一步优化, 为医学临床的诊断提供更完整的参考. 最后, 在两个公开数据集上从不同的角度对所提出的方法进行性能评估, 并与最新方法进行比较. 对比实验结果也表明所提方法在分割精度和稳定性方面均优于现有方法.
The morphological changes in retina boundaries are important indicators of retinal diseases, and the subtle changes can be captured by images obtained by optical coherence tomography (OCT). The retinal layer boundary segmentation based on OCT images can assist in the clinical judgment of related diseases. In OCT images, due to the diverse morphological changes in retina boundaries, the key boundary-related information, such as contexts and saliency boundaries, is crucial to the judgment and segmentation of layer boundaries. However, existing segmentation methods lack the consideration of the above information, which results in incomplete and discontinuous boundaries. To solve the above problems, this study proposes a coarse-to-fine method for the segmentation of retinal layer boundary in OCT images based on the end-to-end deep neural networks and graph search (GS), which avoids the phenomenon of “faults” common in non-end-to-end methods. In coarse segmentation, the attention global residual network (AGR-Net), an end-to-end deep neural network, is proposed to extract the above key information in a more sufficient and effective way. Specifically, a global feature module (GFM) is designed to capture the global context information of OCT images by scanning from four directions of the images. After that, the channel attention module (CAM) and GFM are sequentially combined and embedded in the backbone network to realize saliency modeling of context information of the retina and its boundaries. This effort effectively solves the problem of wrong segmentation caused by retina deformation and insufficient information extraction in OCT images. In fine segmentation, a GS algorithm is adopted to remove isolated areas or holes from the coarse segmentation results obtained by AGR-Net. In this way, the boundary keeps a fixed topology, and it is continuous and smooth, which further optimizes the overall segmentation results and provides a more complete reference for medical clinical diagnosis. Finally, the performance of the proposed method is evaluated from different perspectives on two public datasets, and the method is compared with the latest methods. The comparative experiments show that the proposed method outperforms the existing methods in terms of segmentation accuracy and stability.