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Michael D. Abramoff, MD, PhD

Michael D. Abramoff, MD, PhD

The Robert C. Watzke, MD Professor in Retina Research

Clinical Profile | Academic Profile


  • Iowa Board of Medical Examiners
  • Netherlands Ophthalmologic Society

Professional Affiliations

  • Editor, Head and Face Journal, 2004-
  • Editor, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, 2015-
  • Editor, Scientific Reports (Nature), 2015-
  • Associate Director, United States Department of Veteran Affairs Center for Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss
  • Member, Macula Society, 2007-
  • Member, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 1998-
  • Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 1997-
  • Member, Biomedical Engineering Committee, International Association of Science and Technology for Development, 2006-
  • Committee on Medical Information Technology of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2004-
  • Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine, working group 9 (ophthalmology), 2000-
  • American Telemedicine Association
  • European Society of Ophthalmic and Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, 2002-
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 1996-
  • Nederlands Oogheelkundig Gezelschap (Dutch Board of Ophthalmology), 1995-



M.D. Abràmoff, P.J. Magelhaes, S.J. Ram, Image Processing with ImageJ. Biophotonics International, 11(7):36-42, 2004; over 7500 citations!


Messidor-2 dataset as used in Abramoff et al, Automated analysis of retinal images for detection of referable diabetic retinopathy, JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131:351-7, and in Abramoff et al, Improved automated detection of diabetic retinopathy on a publicly available dataset through integration of deep learning, IOVS, 2016 [in press].  Messidor-2 images (zipped file) or Messidor images (rar file)

Retinal Image Analysis

Keynote address presented by Michael Abramoff at SPIE Medical Imaging 2012, Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging: "Automated Detection of Retinal Disease: When Moore's Law Meets Baumol's Cost Disease: The bright future of image based computer (Aided) diagnosis" (alternative video link: YouTube)

 The still hard-to-find ultimate review on retinal image analysis: Abràmoff MD, Garvin M, Sonka M., Retinal Imaging and Image Analysis. IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering 3:169-208, 2010

ROC: Retina Online Challenge – Online competition for the best microaneurysm detection algorithm, with a standardized set of 100 de-identified color images and reference standard. (server problems have disabled some functionality. Datasets may be downloaded from links below.)

DRIVE: Digital Retinal Images for Vessel Extraction – Online comparison retinal vessel detection algorithms, with a standardized set of 40 de-identified fovea centered retinal color images and reference standard

RITE: Retinal Images vessel Tree Extraction – A database that enables comparative studies on segmentation or classification of arteries and veins on retinal images, which is established based on the public available DRIVE database (Digital Retinal Images for Vessel Extraction) (Download RITE datasets)

DERIVA: Digital Extraction from Retinal Images of Veins and Arteries – Automated method for identification and artery-venous classification of vessel trees in retinal vessel networks. Vinayak S. Joshi, Joseph M. Reinhardt, Mona K. Garvin, Michael D. Abramoff. PlosONE, Nov 2013

INSPIRE - Iowa Normative Set for Processing Images of the REtina - online set of 30 pairs of de-identified stereo color images of the optic nerve head, with reference standard, based on 3D OCT (INSPIRE DATASETS)

  • Associated with our article: Li Tang, Mona K. Garvin, Kyungmoo Lee, Wallace L. M. Alward, Young H. Kwon, Michael D. Abràmoff. Robust Multi-Scale Stereo Matching from Fundus Images with Radiometric Differences. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (Preprint available here

Iowa Reference Algorithm – Analysis and segmentation of retinal and optic nerve head SD-OCT images is now freely available to researchers in the form of the Iowa Reference Algorithm that we developed. (IMAGE BELOW: Downloads of the OCT Explorer)

map of Downloads of the OCT Explorer since 2014

Subvoxel Accurate Graph Search Using Non-Euclidean Graph Space. PLoS ONE, October, 2014


Iowa Retinal Telediagnosis – online diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy

EyeCheck – online diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy 

Other Resources


Intravitreal Injection Technique: A Primer for Ophthalmology Residents and Fellows

Abramoff-Gardner retina debate at the 6th Amsterdam Retina Debate, Dec. 12, 2014.
Dr. Abramoff was introduced at timestamp 2:41:24 slide 1064 through 2:47:18 slide 1079. He began speaking at 2:48:37 slide 1085 and ended his presentation at 3:02:05 slide 1135.

Editorial on our research: The Retinator, Ophthalmology Times 35(13), 2010 | pdf  

Bio-medical Imaging in Java Central (not updated since 2007, needs work)

Iowa Visual Field Reading Center

iOptics NL


  • Abramoff, M. D., van Ginneken, B., Niemeijer, M. 7,474,775, "Automatic Detection of Red Lesions in Digital Color Fundus Photographs."
  • Abramoff, M. D., Kwon, Y. H. 7,712,898, "Methods and Systems for Optic Nerve Head Segmentation."
  • Abramoff, M. D., Quellec, G. U.S. Patent Application Number US 13/992,552, "Optimal, User-Friendly, Object Background Separation in Images."
  • Abramoff, M. D., Niemeijer, M., Xu, X., Sonka, M. U.S. Patent Application number US 13/355,386, "Automated determination of arteriovenous ratio in images of blood vessels."
  • Abràmoff, M., Tang, L. US Patent Application number 13/980,804, "Systems and Methods for Generating a Three-Dimensional Shape from Stereo Color Images."
  • Lee, S., Niemeijer, M., Reinhardt, J., Abramoff, M. D. US Patent number 8,194,936, "Optimal Registration of Multiple Deformed Images Using a Physical Model of the Imaging Distortion."
  • Abramoff, M. D., Soliz, P., Russell, S. R. US Patent number 8,340,437, "Methods and Systems for Determining Optimal Features for Classifying Patterns or Objects in Images."
  • Wu, X., Garvin, M., Abramoff, M., Sonka, M. US Patent number 8,358,819, "System and methods for image segmentation in N-dimensional space."
  • Abràmoff, M. US Patent number 8,616,702, "Hybrid Laser Ophthalmoscope."
  • Abràmoff, M., Tang, L., Wu, X. US Provisional Patent Application number 61/968,713, "Graph Search Using Non-Euclidean Deformed Graph."
  • Abramoff, M. D., DeHoog, E. US Patent number 9,155,465, "Snapshot spectral domain optical coherence tomographer."
  • Abramoff, M. D., Sonka, M. US Patent number 9,545,196, "Automated assessment of glaucoma loss from optical coherence tomography."

Comments by Residents regarding Dr. Abramoff:

"Excellent teacher."

"He makes a point to enforce with residents that teaching is his first priority and this shows in how he operates his clinic. He listens to the residents assessments and pushes them to generate their own clinical plan. He integrates evidence and experience in his teaching effortlessly. He is one of the most supportive faculty of the residents, encouraging them to become involved in research and takes time to mentor them along their career path."

"We are very lucky to have him as a faculty."

"Great working with Dr. Abramoff. I learned a lot from his guidance in clinic. He has a very good systematic approach to retina that I hope to be able to adopt. I look forward to working with him again next year."

"It is truly an honor to work with and learn from Dr. Abramoff. I have so enjoyed my time at the VA in the Retina Clinic with him. He provides excellent guidance but also pushes residents to develop our own assessments and plans. He has also been a fabulous instructor for me with lasers."

"He clearly is dedicated to furthering the field of ophthalmology through all aspects of medicine - research, teaching, and clinical care. I look forward to continue working with him.”

"We're lucky to have him teaching residents and helping to care for our patients."

"Fun to work with and very knowledgeable."