Prior Guided Multitask Learning for Joint Optic Disc/Cup Segmentation and Fovea Detection

Huaqing He, Li Lin, Zhiyuan Cai, Xiaoying Tang

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Fundus photography has been routinely used to document the presence and severity of various retinal degenerative diseases such as age-related macula degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, for which the fovea, optic disc (OD), and optic cup (OC) are important anatomical landmarks. Identification of those anatomical landmarks is of great clinical importance. However, the presence of lesions, drusen, and other abnormalities during retinal degeneration severely complicates automatic landmark detection and segmentation. Most existing works treat the identification of each landmark as a single task and typically do not make use of any clinical prior information. In this paper, we present a novel method, named JOINED, for prior guided multi-task learning for joint OD/OC segmentation and fovea detection. An auxiliary branch for distance prediction, in addition to a segmentation branch and a detection branch, is constructed to effectively utilize the distance information from each image pixel to landmarks of interest. Our proposed JOINED pipeline consists of a coarse stage and a fine stage. At the coarse stage, we obtain the OD/OC coarse segmentation and the heatmap localization of fovea through a joint segmentation and detection module. Afterwards, we crop the regions of interest for subsequent fine processing and use predictions obtained at the coarse stage as additional information for better performance and faster convergence. Experimental results reveal that our proposed JOINED outperforms existing state-of-the-art approaches on the publicly-available GAMMA, PALM, and REFUGE datasets of fundus images. Furthermore, JOINED ranked the 5th on the OD/OC segmentation and fovea detection tasks in the GAMMA MICCAI 2021 challenge.
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Wednesday 6th July
Poster Session 1.1 - onsite 15:20 - 16:20, virtual 11:00 - 12:00 (UTC+2)
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