A two-stage framework for optical coherence tomography angiography image quality improvement

Front Med (Lausanne). 2023 Jan 23;10:1061357. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2023.1061357. eCollection 2023.


INTRODUCTION: Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA) is a new non-invasive imaging modality that gains increasing popularity for the observation of the microvasculatures in the retina and the conjunctiva, assisting clinical diagnosis and treatment planning. However, poor imaging quality, such as stripe artifacts and low contrast, is common in the acquired OCTA and in particular Anterior Segment OCTA (AS-OCTA) due to eye microtremor and poor illumination conditions. These issues lead to incomplete vasculature maps that in turn makes it hard to make accurate interpretation and subsequent diagnosis.

METHODS: In this work, we propose a two-stage framework that comprises a de-striping stage and a re-enhancing stage, with aims to remove stripe noise and to enhance blood vessel structure from the background. We introduce a new de-striping objective function in a Stripe Removal Net (SR-Net) to suppress the stripe noise in the original image. The vasculatures in acquired AS-OCTA images usually exhibit poor contrast, so we use a Perceptual Structure Generative Adversarial Network (PS-GAN) to enhance the de-striped AS-OCTA image in the re-enhancing stage, which combined cyclic perceptual loss with structure loss to achieve further image quality improvement.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed method, we apply the proposed framework to two synthetic OCTA datasets and a real AS-OCTA dataset. Our results show that the proposed framework yields a promising enhancement performance, which enables both conventional and deep learning-based vessel segmentation methods to produce improved results after enhancement of both retina and AS-OCTA modalities.

PMID:36756179 | PMC:PMC9899819 | DOI:10.3389/fmed.2023.1061357


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