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Lesion-Aware Transformers for Diabetic Retinopathy Grading
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of permanent blindness in the working-age population. And automatic DR diagnosis can assist ophthalmologists to design tailored treatments for patients, including DR grading and lesion discovery. However, most of existing methods treat DR grading and lesion discovery as two independent tasks, which require lesion annotations as a learning guidance and limits the actual deployment. To alleviate this problem, we propose a novel lesion-aware transformer (LAT) for DR grading and lesion discovery jointly in a unified deep model via an encoder-decoder structure including a pixel relation based encoder and a lesion filter based decoder. The proposed LAT enjoys several merits. First, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to formulate lesion discovery as a weakly supervised lesion localization problem via a transformer decoder. Second, to learn lesion filters well with only image-level labels, we design two effective mechanisms including lesion region importance and lesion region diversity for identifying diverse lesion regions. Extensive experimental results on three challenging benchmarks including Messidor-1, Messidor-2 and EyePACS demonstrate that the proposed LAT performs favorably against state-of-the-art DR grading and lesion discovery methods.