Pattern Analysis and Applications

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 1177–1196 | Cite as

A generalized multi-scale line-detection method to boost retinal vessel segmentation sensitivity

  • Mohammad A. U. Khan
  • Tariq M. KhanEmail author
  • D. G. Bailey
  • Toufique A. Soomro
Theoretical Advances


Many chronic eye diseases can be conveniently investigated by observing structural changes in retinal blood vessel diameters. However, detecting changes in an accurate manner in face of interfering pathologies is a challenging task. The task is generally performed through an automatic computerized process. The literature shows that powerful methods have already been proposed to identify vessels in retinal images. Though a significant progress has been achieved toward methods to separate blood vessels from the uneven background, the methods still lack the necessary sensitivity to segment fine vessels. Recently, a multi-scale line-detector method proved its worth in segmenting thin vessels. This paper presents modifications to boost the sensitivity of this multi-scale line detector. First, a varying window size with line-detector mask is suggested to detect small vessels. Second, external orientations are fed to steer the multi-scale line detectors into alignment with flow directions. Third, optimal weights are suggested for weighted linear combinations of individual line-detector responses. Fourth, instead of using one global threshold, a hysteresis threshold is proposed to find a connected vessel tree. The overall impact of these modifications is a large improvement in noise removal capability of the conventional multi-scale line-detector method while finding more of the thin vessels. The contrast-sensitive steps are validated using a publicly available database and show considerable promise for the suggested strategy.


Retinal segmentation Morphological opening Morphological reconstruction Second-order derivative detector Multi-scale line detector Orientation field 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad A. U. Khan
    • 1
  • Tariq M. Khan
    • 2
    Email author
  • D. G. Bailey
    • 3
  • Toufique A. Soomro
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering and ComputingAl-Ghurair UniversityAcademic City, DubaiUAE
  2. 2.Electrical Engineering DepartmentCOMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  4. 4.School of Computing and MathematicsCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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