One hundred and twenty OCTA images from 60 NPDR (mild, moderate, and severe stages) patients and 40 images from 20 control subjects were used for this study conducted in a tertiary, subspecialty, academic practice. Both eyes were photographed and all the OCTAs were 6 mm × 6 mm macular scans. Six quantitative features, that is, blood vessel tortuosity, blood vascular caliber, vessel perimeter index, blood vessel density, foveal avascular zone area, and foveal avascular zone contour irregularity (FAZ-CI) were derived from each OCTA image. A support vector machine classification model was trained and tested for computer-aided classification of NPDR stages. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were used as performance metrics of computer-aided classification, and receiver operation characteristics curve was plotted to measure the sensitivity-specificity tradeoff of the classification algorithm.
Among 6 individual OCTA features, blood vessel density shows the best classification accuracies, 93.89% and 90.89% for control versus disease and control versus mild NPDR, respectively. Combined feature classification achieved improved accuracies, 94.41% and 92.96%, respectively. Moreover, the temporal-perifoveal region was the most sensitive region for early detection of DR. For multiclass classification, support vector machine algorithm achieved 84% accuracy.
Blood vessel density was observed as the most sensitive feature, and temporal-perifoveal region was the most sensitive region for early detection of DR. Quantitative OCTA analysis enabled computer-aided identification and staging of NPDR.