A Diabetic Retinopathy Classification Framework Based on Deep-Learning Analysis of OCT Angiography

Pengxiao Zang, Tristan T. Hormel, Xiaogang Wang, Kotaro Tsuboi, David Huang, Thomas S. Hwang, Yali Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Reliable classification of referable and vision threatening diabetic retinopathy (DR) is essential for patients with diabetes to prevent blindness. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and its angiography (OCTA) have several advantages over fundus photographs. We evaluated a deep-learning-aided DR classification framework using volumetric OCT and OCTA. Methods: Four hundred fifty-six OCT and OCTA volumes were scanned from eyes of 50 healthy participants and 305 patients with diabetes. Retina specialists labeled the eyes as non-referable (nrDR), referable (rDR), or vision threatening DR (vtDR). Each eye underwent a 3 × 3-mm scan using a commercial 70 kHz spectral-domain OCT system. We developed a DR classification framework and trained it using volumetric OCT and OCTA to classify eyes into rDR and vtDR. For the scans identified as rDR or vtDR, 3D class activation maps were generated to highlight the subregions which were considered important by the framework for DR classification. Results: For rDR classification, the framework achieved a 0.96 ± 0.01 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and 0.83 ± 0.04 quadratic-weighted kappa. For vtDR classification, the framework achieved a 0.92 ± 0.02 AUC and 0.73 ± 0.04 quadratic-weighted kappa. In addition, the multiple DR classification (non-rDR, rDR but non-vtDR, or vtDR) achieved a 0.83 ± 0.03 quadratic-weighted kappa. Conclusions: A deep learning framework only based on OCT and OCTA can provide specialist-level DR classification using only a single imaging modality. Translational Relevance: The proposed framework can be used to develop clinically valuable automated DR diagnosis system because of the specialist-level performance showed in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • classification
  • deep learning
  • diabetic retinopathy (DR)
  • optical coherence tomography (OCT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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