The study was done to automatically detect and classify the early stages of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) using a deep convolutional neural network (CNN).

This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted in a referral medical centre in Taiwan. Only premature infants with no ROP, stage 1 ROP or stage 2 ROP were enrolled. Overall, 11 372 retinal fundus images were compiled and split into 10 235 images (90%) for training, 1137 (10%) for validation and 244 for testing.

Results The model was trained using five fold cross-validation, yielding an average accuracy of 99.93%±0.03 during training and 92.23%±1.39 during testing. The sensitivity and specificity scores of the model were 96.14%±0.87 and 95.95%±0.48, 91.82%±2.03 and 94.50%±0.71, and 89.81%±1.82 and 98.99%±0.40 when predicting no ROP versus ROP, stage 1 ROP versus no ROP and stage 2 ROP, and stage 2 ROP versus no ROP and stage 1 ROP, respectively.

The proposed system can accurately differentiate among ROP early stages and has the potential to help ophthalmologists classify ROP at an early stage.