Performance Comparison of Publicly Available Retinal Blood Vessel Segmentation Methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Pavel Vostatek
  • Hannu Uusitalo
  • Markku Hauta-Kasari
  • Pauli Fält
  • Lasse Lensu

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland
  • University of Tampere
  • University of Eastern Finland


Retinal blood vessel structure is an important indicator of many retinal and systemic diseases, which has motivated the development of various image segmentation methods for the blood vessels. In this study, two supervised and three unsupervised segmentation methods with a publicly available implementation are reviewed and quantitatively compared with each other on five public databases with ground truth segmentation of the vessels.

Each method is tested under consistent conditions with two types of preprocessing, and the parameters of the methods are optimized for each database. Additionally, possibility to predict the parameters of the methods for each database by the linear regression model is tested. Resolution of the input images and amount of the vessel pixels in the ground truth are used as predictors.

The results show the positive influence of preprocessing on the performance of the unsupervised methods. The methods show similar performance for segmentation accuracy, with the best performance achieved by the method by Azzopardi et al. (Acc 94.0) on ARIADB, the method by Soares et al. (Acc 94.6, 94.7) on CHASEDB1 and DRIVE, and the method by Nguyen et al. (Acc 95.8, 95.5) on HRF and STARE. The method by Soares et al. performed better with regard to the area under the ROC curve. Qualitative differences between the methods are discussed. Finally, it was possible to predict the parameter settings that give performance close to the optimized performance of each method.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-12
JournalComputerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Fundus, Retinal imaging, Vessel segmentation