BioMed Research International

Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 137024, 11 pages

http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/137024

## Segmentation of Retinal Blood Vessels Based on Cake Filter

School of Information Science and Engineering Northeastern University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110819, China

Received 28 April 2015; Accepted 15 September 2015

Academic Editor: Atsushi Mizota

Copyright © 2015 Xi-Rong Bao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

#### Abstract

Segmentation of retinal blood vessels is significant to diagnosis and evaluation of ocular diseases like glaucoma and systemic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The retinal blood vessel segmentation for small and low contrast vessels is still a challenging problem. To solve this problem, a new method based on cake filter is proposed. Firstly, a quadrature filter band called cake filter band is made up in Fourier field. Then the real component fusion is used to separate the blood vessel from the background. Finally, the blood vessel network is got by a self-adaption threshold. The experiments implemented on the STARE database indicate that the new method has a better performance than the traditional ones on the small vessels extraction, average accuracy rate, and true and false positive rate.

#### 1. Introduction

The retinal vasculature is the only component of the body’s circulatory system that can be observed noninvasively by optical means. A large variety of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes affect the vasculature in a way that may cause geometrical and functional retinal vasculature changes. Therefore, the retinal image can be used in the diagnosis of not only glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases but also diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases. This makes the retinal vasculature have an important value on clinical medicine [1–3]. The extraction of retinal image network of blood vessels becomes a difficult problem in the retinal image processing and analysis [4–6] for the following reasons: (1) the retinal blood vessel is full of small blood vessels; (2) the network of blood vessels is complex; and (3) the illumination is uneven when acquiring images leading to the fact that the retinal image contrast is low.

The existing algorithms of retinal blood vessels segmentation can be divided into two classes [1, 2]: the pixel classification [7, 8] and the vessel tracking. Among the methods of pixel classification, Chaudhuri proposed a method using a Gaussian rotating matched filter (MFR) for segmentation of the retinal [9], which showed a good performance of main vessels and a lack of minutiae. Hoover et al. improved the MFR image using local threshold probing technique and region-based attributes of the pixels to extract the network of vessels [10]. However, its computation is very complex. Soares et al. used Gabor wavelet to extract areas with standard image characteristics as the segmentation results [11], which used a number of standard images segmented in advance and in most cases it cannot be implemented. Yao and Chen described a segmentation approach based on transition region using optimal entropy to extract the main vessels and two-dimensional Otsu to complete the extraction of transition region [12]. Its amount of calculation is large.

The other method is vessel tracking. This method extracts vascular network using the principle of recursive growth and it is greatly influenced by the initial point selection. Sun describes an adaptive tracking algorithm based on the characteristics of vessels as center-line, direction, and diameter [13]. Fraz et al. introduced an edge and center-line tracking algorithm based on direction field of retinal blood vessels [2]. Chen presented a vessel tracing method based on Hessian matrix [14]. Compared to pixel classification, this kind of method can segment the width of blood vessels accurately. However, this kind of method is not consistent with the real time requirements of the algorithm.

In view of the good directivity in local retinal vessels and low contrast image, this paper proposes a retinal blood vessels segmentation algorithm based on cake filter. Compared with the above segmentation methods, the cake filter has strong directivity, which can detect the slender structure of the image efficiently. It also is orthogonality, which can save more details and reduce the redundancy of the image, so that it will improve the accuracy of segmentation.

This paper first introduces the structure and principle of cake filter and the verification of its properties in Section 2. Then the segmentation algorithm based on cake filter is introduced in Section 3, followed by the test of the algorithm using STARE fundus image library and the analysis of comparing with classical algorithms such as MFR in Section 4. Finally the paper concluded in Section 5.

#### 2. The Structure of Cake Filter

##### 2.1. Principle and Design of Cake Filter

Many of retinal vessels are bending and disperse in all directions. In order to get efficient segmentation of vessels in different directions, it requires a filtering in more than one direction, which needs good directivity of the filter. At the same time, in order to make the result clearer with no redundant, filter should be orthogonal [15]. In this paper, we call it a suitable filter which satisfied the above two conditions [16].

To meet the two characteristics of the filter, this paper designs a filter by using the following method, named “cake filter.” The cake filter is symmetrical in -axis and orthogonal in -axis, which iswhere is a set of vectors, which means two-dimensional coordinates of the filter. In the , is a Hilbert transformation.

For the convenience of calculation, we design a filter in Fourier field by dividing Fourier field into equal parts and making each component represent a direction cake. The expression of time domain is as follows:It is defined as a product of the inverse Fourier transform of the frequency domain function and a Gaussian filter, where means the two-dimensional inverse Fourier transform of and is a Gaussian filter, with a condition of , which prevents a long tail in time domain of the cake filter. The actual formulas of arewhere is a set of polar coordinates and in Fourier domain; is the resolution of angular coordinate. is a radioactive function in Fourier domain; is a K-B spline function. is expressed as follows:The function is defined as a Gaussian function divided by its Taylor series expansion, where is the order of the Taylor series expansion of , which ensures that the function will be changed slowly in the frequency range and changed rapidly in the edge of image. Mathematically, changes slowly in the range of and changes rapidly in the edge as the function value switches from 1 to 0, which has been shown in Figure 1.