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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


KUNICKI, A.C.B. et al. Can the fractal dimension be applied for the early diagnosis of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy?. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2009, vol.42, n.10, pp.930-934.  Epub Sep 04, 2009. ISSN 1414-431X.

The fractal dimension has been employed as a useful parameter in the diagnosis of retinal disease. Avakian et al. (Curr Eye Res 2002; 24: 274-280), comparing the vascular pattern of normal patients with mild to moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), found a significant difference between them only in the macular region. This significant difference in the box-counting fractal dimension of the macular region between normal and mild NPDR patients has been proposed as a method of precocious diagnosis of NPDR. The aim of the present study was to determine if fractal dimensions can really be used as a parameter for the early diagnosis of NPDR. Box-counting and information fractal dimensions were used to parameterize the vascular pattern of the human retina. The two methods were applied to the whole retina and to nine anatomical regions of the retina in 5 individuals with mild NPDR and in 28 diabetic but opthalmically normal individuals (controls), with age between 31 and 86 years. All images of retina were obtained from the Digital Retinal Images for Vessel Extraction (DRIVE) database. The results showed that the fractal dimension parameter was not sensitive enough to be of use for an early diagnosis of NPDR.

Keywords : Box-counting; Fractal dimension; Information fractal dimension; Retina; Vascularization; Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

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