D. Relan, T. MacGillivray, L. Ballerini, E. Trucco


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It is important to classify retinal blood vessels into arterioles and venules for computerised analysis of the vasculature and to aid discovery of disease biomarkers. For instance, zone B is the standardised region of a retinal image utilised for the measurement of the arteriole to venule width ratio (AVR), a parameter indicative of microvascular health and systemic disease. We introduce a Least Square-Support Vector Machine (LS-SVM) classifier for the first time (to the best of our knowledge) to label automatically arterioles and venules. We use only 4 image features and consider vessels inside zone B (802 vessels from 70 fundus camera images) and in an extended zone (1,207 vessels, 70 fundus camera images). We achieve an accuracy of 94.88% and 93.96% in zone B and the extended zone, respectively, with a training set of 10 images and a testing set of 60 images. With a smaller training set of only 5 images and the same testing set we achieve an accuracy of 94.16% and 93.95%, respectively. This experiment was repeated five times by randomly choosing 10 and 5 images for the training set. Mean classification accuracy are close to the above mentioned result. We conclude that the performance of our system is very promising and outperforms most recently reported systems. Our approach requires smaller training data sets compared to others but still results in a similar or higher classification rate.