Attention to region: Region-based integration-and-recalibration networks for nuclear cataract classification using AS-OCT images

Xiaoqing Zhang, Zunjie Xiao, Huazhu Fu, Yan Hu, Jin Yuan, Yanwu Xu, Risa Higashita, Jiang Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Nuclear cataract (NC) is a leading eye disease for blindness and vision impairment globally. Accurate and objective NC grading/classification is essential for clinically early intervention and cataract surgery planning. Anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) images are capable of capturing the nucleus region clearly and measuring the opacity of NC quantitatively. Recently, clinical research has suggested that the opacity correlation and repeatability between NC severity levels and the average nucleus density on AS-OCT images is high with the interclass and intraclass analysis. Moreover, clinical research has suggested that opacity distribution is uneven on the nucleus region, indicating that the opacities from different nucleus regions may play different roles in NC diagnosis. Motivated by the clinical priors, this paper proposes a simple yet effective region-based integration-and-recalibration attention (RIR), which integrates multiple feature map region representations and recalibrates the weights of each region via softmax attention adaptively. This region recalibration strategy enables the network to focus on high contribution region representations and suppress less useful ones. We combine the RIR block with the residual block to form a Residual-RIR module, and then a sequence of Residual-RIR modules are stacked to a deep network named region-based integration-and-recalibration network (RIR-Net), to predict NC severity levels automatically. The experiments on a clinical AS-OCT image dataset and two OCT datasets demonstrate that our method outperforms strong baselines and previous state-of-the-art methods. Furthermore, attention weight visualization analysis and ablation studies verify the capability of our RIR-Net for adjusting the relative importance of different regions in feature maps dynamically, agreeing with the clinical research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102499
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • AS-OCT image
  • Attention
  • Interpretation
  • Nuclear cataract classification
  • Region-based integration-and-recalibration network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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