Deep learning for assessing the corneal endothelium from specular microscopy images up to 1 year after ultrathin-dsaek surgery

Juan P. Vigueras-Guillén*, Jeroen van Rooij, Angela Engel, Hans G. Lemij, Lucas J. van Vliet, Koenraad A. Vermeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To present a fully automatic method to estimate the corneal endothelium parameters from specular microscopy images and to use it to study a one-year follow-up after ultrathin Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty. Methods: We analyzed 383 post ultrathin Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty images from 41 eyes acquired with a Topcon SP-1P specular microscope at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. The estimated parameters were endothelial cell density (ECD), coefficient of variation (CV), and hexagonality (HEX). Manual segmentation was performed in all images. Results: Our method provided an estimate for ECD, CV, and HEX in 98.4% of the images, whereas Topcon’s software had a success rate of 71.5% for ECD/CV and 30.5% for HEX. For the images with estimates, the percentage error in our method was 2.5% for ECD, 5.7% for CV, and 5.7% for HEX, whereas Topcon’s software provided an error of 7.5% for ECD, 17.5% for CV, and 18.3% for HEX. Our method was significantly better than Topcon’s (P < 0.0001) and was not statistically significantly different from the manual assessments (P > 0.05). At month 12, the subjects presented an average ECD = 1377 ± 483 [cells/mm2 ], CV = 26.1 ± 5.7 [%], and HEX = 58.1 ± 7.1 [%]. Conclusions: The proposed method obtains reliable and accurate estimations even in challenging specular images of pathologic corneas. Translational Relevance: CV and HEX, not currently used in the clinic owing to a lack of reliability in automatic methods, are useful biomarkers to analyze the postoperative healing process. Our accurate estimations allow now for their clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Corneal endothelial cells
  • Corneal transplantation
  • In vivo imaging

Cite this