A multimodal deep learning system to distinguish late stages of AMD and to compare expert vs. AI ocular biomarkers

Kaveri Thakoor, Jiaang Yao, Darius Bordbar, Omar Moussa, Weijie Lin, Paul Sajda, Royce Chen

Within the next 1.5 decades, 1 in 7 U.S. adults is anticipated to suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a degenerative retinal disease which leads to blindness if untreated. Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) has become a prime technique for AMD diagnosis, specifically for late-stage neovascular (NV) AMD. Such technologies generate massive amounts of data, challenging to parse by experts alone, transforming artificial intelligence into a valuable partner. We describe a deep learning (DL) approach which achieves multi-class detection of non-AMD vs. non-neovascular (NNV) AMD vs. NV AMD from a combination of OCTA, OCT structure, 2D b-scan flow images, and high definition (HD) 5-line b-scan cubes; DL also detects ocular biomarkers indicative of AMD risk. Multimodal data were used as input to 2D-3D Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). Both for CNNs and experts, choroidal neovascularization and geographic atrophy were found to be important biomarkers for AMD. CNNs predict biomarkers with accuracy up to 90.2% (positive-predictive-value up to 75.8%). Just as experts rely on multimodal data to diagnose AMD, CNNs also performed best when trained on multiple inputs combined. Detection of AMD and its biomarkers from OCTA data via CNNs has tremendous potential to expedite screening of early and late-stage AMD patients.

Received 25 June 2021
Available Online 24 Feb 2022
Accepted 24 January 2022
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