Combining Feature Correspondence with Parametric Chamfer Alignment: Hybrid Two-Stage Registration for Ultra-Widefield Retinal Images
preprintposted on 19.12.2021, 12:06 by Li DingLi Ding, Tony Kang, Ajay E. Kuriyan, Rajeev S. Ramchandran, Charles C. Wykoff, Gaurav SharmaGaurav Sharma
We propose a novel hybrid framework for registering retinal images in the presence of extreme geometric distortions that are commonly encountered in ultra-widefield (UWF) fluorescein angiography. Our approach consists of two stages: a feature-based global registration and a vessel-based local refinement. For the global registration, we introduce a modified RANSAC algorithm that jointly identifies robust matches between feature keypoints in reference and target images and estimates a polynomial geometric transformation consistent with the identified correspondences. Our RANSAC modification particularly improves feature point matching and the registration in peripheral regions that are most severely impacted by the geometric distortions. The second local refinement stage is formulated in our framework as a parametric chamfer alignment for vessel maps obtained using a deep neural network. Because the complete vessel maps contribute to the chamfer alignment, this approach not only improves registration accuracy but also aligns with clinical practice, where vessels are typically a key focus of examinations. We validate the effectiveness of the proposed framework on a new UWF fluorescein angiography (FA) dataset and on the existing narrow-field FIRE (fundus image registration) dataset and demonstrate that it significantly outperforms prior retinal image registration methods. The proposed approach enhances the utility of large sets of longitudinal UWF images by enabling: (a) automatic computation of vessel change metrics and (b) standardized and co-registered examination that can better highlight changes of clinical interest to physicians.