Automated identification of fleck lesions in Stargardt disease using deep learning enhances lesion detection sensitivity and enables morphometric analysis of flecks

Jasdeep Sabharwal, Tin Yan Alvin Liu, Bani Antonio-Aguirre, Mya Abousy, Tapan Patel, Cindy X. Cai, Craig K. Jones, Mandeep S. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To classify fleck lesions and assess artificial intelligence (AI) in identifying flecks in Stargardt disease (STGD). Methods: A retrospective study of 170 eyes from 85 consecutive patients with confirmed STGD. Fundus autofluorescence images were extracted, and flecks were manually outlined. A deep learning model was trained, and a hold-out testing subset was used to compare with manually identified flecks and for graders to assess. Flecks were clustered using K-means clustering. Results: Of the 85 subjects, 45 were female, and the median age was 37 years (IQR 25-59). A subset of subjects (n=41) had clearly identifiable fleck lesions, and an AI was successfully trained to identify these lesions (average Dice score of 0.53, n=18). The AI segmentation had smaller (0.018 compared with 0.034 mm2, p<0.001) but more numerous flecks (75.5 per retina compared with 40.0, p<0.001), but the total size of flecks was not different. The AI model had higher sensitivity to detect flecks but resulted in more false positives. There were two clusters of flecks based on morphology: broadly, one cluster of small round flecks and another of large amorphous flecks. The per cent frequency of small round flecks negatively correlated with subject age (r=-0.31, p<0.005). Conclusions: AI-based detection of flecks shows greater sensitivity than human graders but with a higher false-positive rate. With further optimisation to address current shortcomings, this approach could be used to prescreen subjects for clinical research. The feasibility and utility of quantifying fleck morphology in conjunction with AI-based segmentation as a biomarker of progression require further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbjo-2023-323592
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Clinical Trial
  • Genetics
  • Imaging
  • Telemedicine
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Ophthalmology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Automated identification of fleck lesions in Stargardt disease using deep learning enhances lesion detection sensitivity and enables morphometric analysis of flecks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this