ABSTRACT Retinal vasculature is a network of vessels in the retinal layer. In ophthalmology, information of retinal vasculature in analyzing fundus images is important for early detection of diseases related to the retina, e.g. diabetic retinopathy. However, in fundus images the contrast between retinal vasculature and the background is very low. As a result, analyzing or visualizing tiny retinal vasculature is difficult. There-fore, enhancement of retinal vasculature in digital fundus image is important to provide better visualization of retinal blood vessels as well as to increase accuracy of retinal vasculature segmentation. Fluorescein angiogram overcomes this imaging problem but it is an invasive procedure that leads to other physiological problems. In this research work, the low contrast problem of retinal fundus images ob-tained from fundus camera is addressed. We develop a fundus image model based on probability distribution function of melanin, haemoglobin and macular pigment to represent melanin, retinal vasculature and macular region, respectively. We determine retinal pigments makeup, namely macular pigment, melanin and haemoglobin using independent component analysis. Independent component image due to haemoglobin obtained is used since it exhibits higher contrast retinal vasculature. Contrast of reti-nal vasculature from independent component image due to haemoglobin is compared to those from other enhancement methods. Results show that this approach outperforms other non-invasive enhancement methods, such as contrast stretching, histogram equalization and CLAHE and can be beneficial for retinal vasculature segmentation. Contrast enhancement factor up to 2.62 for a digital retinal fundus image model is achieved. This improvement in contrast reduces the need of applying contrasting agent on patients.
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