Weak label based Bayesian U-Net for optic disc segmentation in fundus images

Hao Xiong*, Sidong Liu, Roneel Sharan, Enrico Coiera, Shlomo Berkovsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Fundus images have been widely used in routine examinations of ophthalmic diseases. For some diseases, the pathological changes mainly occur around the optic disc area; therefore, detection and segmentation of the optic disc are critical pre-processing steps in fundus image analysis. Current machine learning based optic disc segmentation methods typically require manual segmentation of the optic disc for the supervised training. However, it is time consuming to annotate pixel-level optic disc masks and inevitably induces inter-subject variance. To address these limitations, we propose a weak label based Bayesian U-Net exploiting Hough transform based annotations to segment optic discs in fundus images. To achieve this, we build a probabilistic graphical model and explore a Bayesian approach with the state-of-the-art U-Net framework. To optimize the model, the expectation-maximization algorithm is used to estimate the optic disc mask and update the weights of the Bayesian U-Net, alternately. Our evaluation demonstrates strong performance of the proposed method compared to both fully- and weakly-supervised baselines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102261
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
Early online date26 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Optic disc segmentation
  • Bayesian U-Net
  • Expectation-maximization
  • Weak labels
  • Fundus image


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