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This paper presents a new supervised method for blood vessel detection in digital retinal images. This method uses a neural network (NN) scheme for pixel classification and computes a 7-D vector composed of gray-level and moment invariants-based features for pixel representation. The method was evaluated on the publicly available DRIVE and STARE databases, widely used for this purpose, since they contain retinal images where the vascular structure has been precisely marked by experts. Method performance on both sets of test images is better than other existing solutions in literature. The method proves especially accurate for vessel detection in STARE images. Its application to this database (even when the NN was trained on the DRIVE database) outperforms all analyzed segmentation approaches. Its effectiveness and robustness with different image conditions, together with its simplicity and fast implementation, make this blood vessel segmentation proposal suitable for retinal image computer analyses such as automated screening for early diabetic retinopathy detection.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2011