Corneal endothelium assessment in specular microscopy images with Fuchs’ dystrophy via deep regression of signed distance maps

Juan S. Sierra, Jesus Pineda, Daniela Rueda, Alejandro Tello, Angélica M. Prada, Virgilio Galvis, Giovanni Volpe, Maria S. Millan, Lenny A. Romero, Andres G. Marrugo

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Specular microscopy assessment of the human corneal endothelium (CE) in Fuchs’ dystrophy is challenging due to the presence of dark image regions called guttae. This paper proposes a UNet-based segmentation approach that requires minimal post-processing and achieves reliable CE morphometric assessment and guttae identification across all degrees of Fuchs’ dystrophy. We cast the segmentation problem as a regression task of the cell and gutta signed distance maps instead of a pixel-level classification task as typically done with UNets. Compared to the conventional UNet classification approach, the distance-map regression approach converges faster in clinically relevant parameters. It also produces morphometric parameters that agree with the manually-segmented ground-truth data, namely the average cell density difference of -41.9 cells/mm2 (95% confidence interval (CI) [-306.2, 222.5]) and the average difference of mean cell area of 14.8 µm2 (95% CI [-41.9, 71.5]). These results suggest a promising alternative for CE assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-351
Number of pages17
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

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