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Automatic detection and classification of retinal vascular landmarks


The main contribution of this paper is introducing a method to distinguish between different landmarks of the retina: bifurcations and crossings. The methodology may help in differentiating between arteries and veins and is useful in identifying diseases and other special pathologies, too. The method does not need any special skills, thus it can be assimilated to an automatic way for pinpointing landmarks; moreover it gives good responses for very small vessels. A skeletonized representation, taken out from the segmented binary image (obtained through a preprocessing step), is used to identify pixels with three or more neighbors. Then, the junction points are classified into bifurcations or crossovers depending on their geometrical and topological properties such as width, direction and connectivity of the surrounding segments. The proposed approach is applied to the public-domain DRIVE and STARE datasets and compared with the state-of-the-art methods using proper validation parameters. The method was successful in identifying the majority of the landmarks; the average correctly identified bifurcations in both DRIVE and STARE datasets for the recall and precision values are: 95.4% and 87.1% respectively; also for the crossovers, the recall and precision values are: 87.6% and 90.5% respectively; thus outperforming other studies.