An interpretable dual attention network for diabetic retinopathy grading: IDANet

Amit Bhati, Neha Gour, Pritee Khanna, Aparajita Ojha, Naoufel Werghi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most prevalent cause of visual impairment in adults worldwide. Typically, patients with DR do not show symptoms until later stages, by which time it may be too late to receive effective treatment. DR Grading is challenging because of the small size and variation in lesion patterns. The key to fine-grained DR grading is to discover more discriminating elements such as cotton wool, hard exudates, hemorrhages, microaneurysms etc. Although deep learning models like convolutional neural networks (CNN) seem ideal for the automated detection of abnormalities in advanced clinical imaging, small-size lesions are very hard to distinguish by using traditional networks. This work proposes a bi-directional spatial and channel-wise parallel attention based network to learn discriminative features for diabetic retinopathy grading. The proposed attention block plugged with a backbone network helps to extract features specific to fine-grained DR-grading. This scheme boosts classification performance along with the detection of small-sized lesion parts. Extensive experiments are performed on four widely used benchmark datasets for DR grading, and performance is evaluated on different quality metrics. Also, for model interpretability, activation maps are generated using the LIME method to visualize the predicted lesion parts. In comparison with state-of-the-art methods, the proposed IDANet exhibits better performance for DR grading and lesion detection.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number102782
    JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
    StatePublished - Mar 2024


    • Bi-directional spatial attention (BSA)
    • Channel-wise parallel attention (CPA)
    • Diabetic retinopathy
    • Dual attention network
    • Model interpretability


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