Automated assessment of the optic nerve head on stereo disc photographs

Juan Xu, Hiroshi Ishikawa, Gadi Wollstein, Richard A. Bilonick, Kyung R. Sung, Larry Kagemann, Kelly A. Townsend, Joel S. Schuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To develop automated software for optic nerve head (ONH) quantitative assessment from stereoscopic disc photographs and to evaluate its performance in comparison with human expert assessment. METHODS. A fully automated system, including three-dimensional ONH modeling, disc margin detection, cup margin detection, and calculation of stereometric ONH parameters, was developed and tested. One eye each from 54 subjects (23 healthy, 17 suspected glaucoma, and 14 glaucoma) was enrolled. The majority opinion of three experts defined disc and cup margins on the disc photographs was used for comparison. Seven ONH parameters, disc area, rim area, rim volume, cup area, cup volume, cup-to-disc (C/D) area ratio, and vertical C/D ratio, were computed based on both machine-and expertdefined margins and compared between the methods. RESULTS. All automated ONH measurements showed good correlation with the expert defined margins (Pearson r = 0.90, disc area; 0.56, rim area; 0.78, rim volume; 0.88, cup area; 0.93, cup volume; 0.69, C/D area ratio; and 0.67, vertical C/D ratio; all P ≤ 0.0001). No statistically significant difference was found in the glaucoma-discriminating ability of all seven ONH parameters (P ≥ 0.21). The mean or median of automatically defined disc and cup areas was significantly higher than the subjective assessment (disc area P = 0.0001, t-test; cup area P = 0.036, Wilcoxon signed ranks test), although they had high correlation coefficients. The software failed to detect the disc margin for all the disc photographs with peripapillary atrophy. CONCLUSIONS. The automated ONH analysis method provides an objective and quantitative ONH evaluation using widely available stereo disc photographs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2512-2517
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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