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Shanshan Wei, Faqiang Shi, Yuexin Wang, Yilin Chou, Xuemin Li; A Deep Learning Model for Automated Sub-Basal Corneal Nerve Segmentation and Evaluation Using In Vivo Confocal Microscopy. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(2):32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.2.32.
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The purpose of this study was to establish a deep learning model for automated sub-basal corneal nerve fiber (CNF) segmentation and evaluation with in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM).
A corneal nerve segmentation network (CNS-Net) was established with convolutional neural networks based on a deep learning algorithm for sub-basal corneal nerve segmentation and evaluation. CNS-Net was trained with 552 and tested on 139 labeled IVCM images as supervision information collected from July 2017 to December 2018 in Peking University Third Hospital. These images were labeled by three senior ophthalmologists with ImageJ software and then considered ground truth. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs), mean average precision (mAP), sensitivity, and specificity were applied to evaluate the efficiency of corneal nerve segmentation. The relative deviation ratio (RDR) was leveraged to evaluate the accuracy of the corneal nerve fiber length (CNFL) evaluation task.
The model achieved an AUC of 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.935–0.983) and an mAP of 94% with minimum dice coefficient loss at 0.12. For our dataset, the sensitivity was 96% and specificity was 75% in the CNF segmentation task, and an RDR of 16% was reported in the CNFL evaluation task. Moreover, the model was able to segment and evaluate as many as 32 images per second, much faster than skilled ophthalmologists.
We established a deep learning model, CNS-Net, which demonstrated a high accuracy and fast speed in sub-basal corneal nerve segmentation with IVCM. The results highlight the potential of the system in assisting clinical practice for corneal nerves segmentation and evaluation.
The deep learning model for IVCM images may enable rapid segmentation and evaluation of the corneal nerve and may provide the basis for the diagnosis and treatment of ocular surface diseases associated with corneal nerves.
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