An open-source deep learning network for reconstruction of high-resolution oct angiograms of retinal intermediate and deep capillary plexuses

Min Gao, Tristan T. Hormel, Jie Wang, Yukun Guo, Steven T. Bailey, Thomas S. Hwang, Yali Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: We propose a deep learning–based image reconstruction algorithm to produce high-resolution optical coherence tomographic angiograms (OCTA) of the intermediate capillary plexus (ICP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP). Methods: In this study, 6-mm × 6-mm macular scans with a 400 × 400 A-line sampling density and 3-mm × 3-mm scans with a 304 × 304 A-line sampling density were acquired on one or both eyes of 180 participants (including 230 eyes with diabetic retinopathy and 44 healthy controls) using a 70-kHz commercial OCT system (RTVue-XR; Optovue, Inc., Fremont, California, USA). Projection-resolved OCTA algorithm removed projection artifacts in voxel. ICP and DCP angiograms were generated by maximum projection of the OCTA signal within the respective plexus. We proposed a deep learning–based method, which receives inputs from registered 3-mm × 3-mm ICP and DCP angiograms with proper sampling density as the ground truth reference to reconstruct 6-mm × 6-mm high-resolution ICP and DCP en face OCTA. We applied the same network on 3-mm × 3-mm angiograms to enhance these images further. We evaluated the reconstructed 3-mm × 3-mm and 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms based on vascular connectivity, Weber contrast, false flow signal (flow signal erroneously generated from background), and the noise intensity in the foveal avascular zone. Results: Compared to the originals, the Deep Capillary Angiogram Reconstruction Network (DCARnet)–enhanced 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms had significantly reduced noise intensity (ICP, 7.38 ± 25.22, P < 0.001; DCP, 11.20 ± 22.52, P < 0.001), improved vascular connectivity (ICP, 0.95 ± 0.01, P < 0.001; DCP, 0.96 ± 0.01, P < 0.001), and enhanced Weber contrast (ICP, 4.25 ± 0.10, P < 0.001; DCP, 3.84 ± 0.84, P < 0.001), without generating false flow signal when noise intensity lower than 650. The DCARnetenhanced 3-mm × 3-mm angiograms also reduced noise, improved connectivity, and enhanced Weber contrast in 3-mm × 3-mm ICP and DCP angiograms from 101 eyes. In addition, DCARnet preserved the appearance of the dilated vessels in the reconstructed angiograms in diabetic eyes. Conclusions: DCARnet can enhance 3-mm × 3-mm and 6-mm × 6-mm ICP and DCP angiogram image quality without introducing artifacts. Translational Relevance: The enhanced 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms may be easier for clinicians to interpret qualitatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Deep capillary plexus
  • Deep learning
  • Intermediate capillary plexus
  • Optical coherence tomographic angiograms
  • Reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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