Construction and application of a deep learning-based assistant system for corneal in vivo confocal microscopy images recognition

Authors: Yan Yulin,  Jiang Weiyan,  Cheng Simin,  Zhou Yiwen,  Yu Yi,  Zheng Biqing,  Yang Yanning
DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.cn115989-20230101-00001
Published 2024-02-10
Cite as Chin J Exp Ophthalmol, 2024, 42(2): 129-135.

Abstract                            【Read Full Text】【Download PDF

Objective

To construct an artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted system based on deep learning for corneal in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) image recognition and to evaluate its value in clinical applications.

Methods

A diagnostic study was conducted.A total of 18 860 corneal images were collected from 331 subjects who underwent IVCM examination at Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University from May 2021 to September 2022.The collected images were used for model training and testing after being reviewed and classified by corneal experts.The model design included a low-quality image filtering model, a corneal image diagnosis model, and a 4-layer identification model for corneal epithelium, Bowman membrane, stroma, and endothelium, to initially determine normal and abnormal corneal images and corresponding corneal layers.A human-machine competition was conducted with another 360 database-independent IVCM images to compare the accuracy and time spent on image recognition by three senior ophthalmologists and the AI system.In addition, 8 trainees without IVCM training and with less than three years of clinical experience were selected to recognize the same 360 images without and with model assistance to analyze the effectiveness of model assistance.This study adhered to the Declaration of Helsinki.The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University (No.WDRY2021-K148).

Results

The accuracy of this diagnostic model in screening high-quality images was 0.954.Its overall accuracy in identifying normal/abnormal corneal images was 0.916 and 0.896 in the internal and external test sets, respectively.Its accuracy reached 0.983, 0.925 in the internal test sets and 0.988, 0.929 in the external test sets in identifying corneal layers of normal and abnormal images, respectively.In the human-machine competition, the overall recognition accuracy of the model was 0.878, which was similar to the average accuracy of the three senior physicians and was approximately 300 times faster than the experts in recognition speed.Trainees assisted by the system achieved an accuracy of 0.816±0.043 in identifying corneal layers of normal and abnormal images, which was significantly higher than 0.669±0.061 without model assistance (t=6.304, P<0.001).

Conclusions

A deep learning-based assistant system for corneal IVCM image recognition is successfully constructed.This system can discriminate normal/abnormal corneal images and diagnose the corresponding corneal layer of the images, which can improve the efficiency of clinical diagnosis and assist doctors in training and learning.

Key words:

Microscopy, confocal; Cornea; Artificial intelligence; Deep learning

Contributor Information

Yan Yulin

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Jiang Weiyan

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Cheng Simin

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Zhou Yiwen

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Yu Yi

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Zheng Biqing

School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China

Yang Yanning

Department of Ophthalmology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

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