University of Leicester
1-s2.0-S1361841523001895-main.pdf (4.07 MB)
Download file

Stimulus-guided adaptive transformer network for retinal blood vessel segmentation in fundus images

Download (4.07 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-04, 15:13 authored by Ji Lin, Xingru Huang, Huiyu Zhou, Yaqi Wang, Qianni Zhang

Automated retinal blood vessel segmentation in fundus images provides important evidence to ophthalmologists in coping with prevalent ocular diseases in an efficient and non-invasive way. However, segmenting blood vessels in fundus images is a challenging task, due to the high variety in scale and appearance of blood vessels and the high similarity in visual features between the lesions and retinal vascular. Inspired by the way that the visual cortex adaptively responds to the type of stimulus, we propose a Stimulus-Guided Adaptive Transformer Network (SGAT-Net) for accurate retinal blood vessel segmentation. It entails a Stimulus-Guided Adaptive Module (SGA-Module) that can extract local–global compound features based on inductive bias and self-attention mechanism. Alongside a light-weight residual encoder (ResEncoder) structure capturing the relevant details of appearance, a Stimulus-Guided Adaptive Pooling Transformer (SGAP-Former) is introduced to reweight the maximum and average pooling to enrich the contextual embedding representation while suppressing the redundant information. Moreover, a Stimulus-Guided Adaptive Feature Fusion (SGAFF) module is designed to adaptively emphasize the local details and global context and fuse them in the latent space to adjust the receptive field (RF) based on the task. The evaluation is implemented on the largest fundus image dataset (FIVES) and three popular retinal image datasets (DRIVE, STARE, CHASEDB1). Experimental results show that the proposed method achieves a competitive performance over the other existing method, with a clear advantage in avoiding errors that commonly happen in areas with highly similar visual features. The sourcecode is publicly available at:


Royal Society International Exchanges Fund (IEC NSFC 211269)


Author affiliation

School of Informatics, University of Leicester


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Medical Image Analysis






Elsevier BV



Copyright date


Available date