AlterNet-K: a small and compact model for the detection of glaucoma

Gavin D’Souza, P. C. Siddalingaswamy, Mayur Anand Pandya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of permanent blindness in the world. It is caused due to an increase in the intraocular pressure within the eye that harms the optic nerve. People suffering from Glaucoma often do not notice any changes in their vision in the early stages. However, as it progresses, Glaucoma usually leads to vision loss that is irreversible in many cases. Thus, early diagnosis of this eye disease is of critical importance. The fundus image is one of the most used diagnostic tools for glaucoma detection. However, drawing accurate insights from these images requires them to be manually analyzed by medical experts, which is a time-consuming process. In this work, we propose a parameter-efficient AlterNet-K model based on an alternating design pattern, which combines ResNets and multi-head self-attention (MSA) to leverage their complementary properties to improve the generalizability of the overall model. The model was trained on the Rotterdam EyePACS AIROGS dataset, comprising 113,893 colour fundus images from 60,357 subjects. The AlterNet-K model outperformed transformer models such as ViT, DeiT-S, and Swin transformer, standard DCNN models including ResNet, EfficientNet, MobileNet and VGG with an accuracy of 0.916, AUROC of 0.968 and F1 score of 0.915. The results indicate that smaller CNN models combined with self-attention mechanisms can achieve high classification accuracies. Small and compact Resnet models combined with MSA outperform their larger counterparts. The models in this work can be extended to handle classification tasks in other medical imaging domains.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Engineering Letters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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