Optic disc or optic nerve (ON) head extraction in retinal images has widespread applications in retinal disease diagnosis and human identification in biometric systems. This paper introduces a fast and automatic algorithm for detecting and extracting the ON region accurately from the retinal images without the use of the blood-vessel information. In this algorithm, to compensate for the destructive changes of the illumination and also enhance the contrast of the retinal images, we estimate the illumination of background and apply an adaptive correction function on the curvelet transform coefficients of retinal images. In other words, we eliminate the fault factors and pave the way to extract the ON region exactly. Then, we detect the ON region from retinal images using the morphology operators based on geodesic conversions, by applying a proper adaptive correction function on the reconstructed image’s curvelet transform coefficients and a novel powerful criterion. Finally, using a local thresholding on the detected area of the retinal images, we extract the ON region. The proposed algorithm is evaluated on available images of DRIVE and STARE databases. The experimental results indicate that the proposed algorithm obtains an accuracy rate of 100% and 97.53% for the ON extractions on DRIVE and STARE databases, respectively.
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