Purpose: To generate the first open dataset of retinal parafoveal optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) images with associated ground truth manual segmentations, and to establish a standard for OCTA image segmentation by surveying a broad range of state-of-the-art vessel enhancement and binarization procedures.
Methods: Handcrafted filters and neural network architectures were used to perform vessel enhancement. Thresholding methods and machine learning approaches were applied to obtain the final binarization. Evaluation was performed by using pixelwise metrics and newly proposed topological metrics. Finally, we compare the error in the computation of clinically relevant vascular network metrics (e.g., foveal avascular zone area and vessel density) across segmentation methods.
Results: Our results show that, for the set of images considered, deep learning architectures (U-Net and CS-Net) achieve the best performance (Dice = 0.89). For applications where manually segmented data are not available to retrain these approaches, our findings suggest that optimally oriented flux (OOF) is the best handcrafted filter (Dice = 0.86). Moreover, our results show up to 25% differences in vessel density accuracy depending on the segmentation method used.
Conclusions: In this study, we derive and validate the first open dataset of retinal parafoveal OCTA images with associated ground truth manual segmentations. Our findings should be taken into account when comparing the results of clinical studies and performing meta-analyses. Finally, we release our data and source code to support standardization efforts in OCTA image segmentation.
Translational Relevance: This work establishes a standard for OCTA retinal image segmentation and introduces the importance of evaluating segmentation performance in terms of clinically relevant metrics.