by Xiayu Xu, Joseph M. Reinhardt, Qiao Hu, Benjamin Bakall, Paul S. Tlucek, Geir Bertelsen, Michael D. Abràmoff
The retinal vessel width relationship at vessel branch points in fundus images is an important biomarker of retinal and systemic disease. We propose a fully automatic method to measure the vessel widths at branch points in fundus images. The method is a graph-based method, in which a graph construction method based on electric field theory is applied which specifically deals with complex branching patterns. The vessel centerline image is used as the initial segmentation of the graph. Branching points are detected on the vessel centerline image using a set of detection kernels. Crossing points are distinguished from branch points and excluded. The electric field based graph method is applied to construct the graph. This method is inspired by the non-intersecting force lines in an electric field. At last, the method is further improved to give a consistent vessel width measurement for the whole vessel tree. The algorithm was validated on 100 artery branchings and 100 vein branchings selected from 50 fundus images by comparing with vessel width measurements from two human experts.