Purpose: Retinal image analysis can lead to early detection of several pathologies such as hypertension or diabetes. Screening processes require the evaluation of a high amount of visual data and, usually, the collaboration between different experts and different health care centers. These usual routines demand new fast and automatic solutions to deal with these situations. This work introduces Sirius (System for the Integration of Retinal Images Understanding Services), a web-based system for image analysis in the retinal imaging field. Methods: Sirius provides a framework for ophthalmologists or other experts in the field to collaboratively work using retinal image-based applications in a distributed, fast and reliable environment. Sirius consists of three main components: the web client that users interact with, the web application server that processes all client requests and the service module that performs the image processing tasks. In this work, we present a service for the analysis of retinal microcirculation using a semi-automatic methodology for the computation of the arteriolar-to-venular ratio (AVR). Results: Sirius has been evaluated in different real environments, involving health care systems, to test its performance. First, the AVR service was validated in terms of precision and efficiency and then, the framework was evaluated in different real scenarios of medical centers. Conclusions: Sirius is a web-based application providing a fast and reliable work environment for retinal experts. The system allows the sharing of images and processed results between remote computers and provides automated methods to diminish inter-expert variability in the analysis of the images. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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