Effect of video display on the grading of diabetic retinopathy

M. T. J. Costen*, R. S. B. Newsom, B. Parkin, C. S. Marsh, R. L. Mehta, A. J. Luff, C. R. Canning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Digital images are increasingly being used in ophthalmology. These may be viewed either on thin-film transistor (TFT) or on cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays. However, there is little data showing which is superior. In this study, we compared the performance of CRT and TFT displays for grading of both compressed and uncompressed images of diabetic retinopathy. 

Methods: A total of 49 35mm transparencies of diabetic retinopathy were scanned and compressed. The images comprised 17 with no retinopathy, eight with background, five with preproliferative, and 19 with proliferative retinopathy. Four levels of compression were used: 0, 70, 80, and 90%. A total of 196 randomised images were presented to two masked graders using both TFT and CRT displays under uniform lighting conditions, 2 months apart. The grade of retinopathy was assessed. Statistical analysis of grading accuracy was performed using receiver operator characteristic curves of sensitivity and specificity and the Stuart-Maxwell test for paired, nonparametric data. 

Results: Both displays showed high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of any retinopathy. For the specific grade of retinopathy, the CRT performed slightly better with a sensitivity of 0.80 for uncompressed images, compared with 0.75 using the TFT. Compression reduced these sensitivities to 0.73 on the CRT and 0.63 on the TFT. Grading of uncompressed images magnified to four times their original size was more accurate on the TFT. 

Conclusions: Grading on both displays met sensitivity and specificity criteria proposed by Diabetes UK (formerly British Diabetic Association) for screening of diabetic retinopathy. The CRT generally performed slightly better than the TFT in relation to the detection of the specific grade of retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2004


  • cathode-ray tube (CRT)
  • diabetic retinopathy screening digital image compression
  • JPEG
  • thin-film transistor (TFT)


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