Retinal image analysis is a challenging problem due to the precise quantification required and the huge numbers of images produced in screening programs. This paper describes a series of innovative brain-inspired algorithms for automated retinal image analysis, recently developed for the RetinaCheck project, a large-scale screening program for diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases in Northeast China. The paper discusses the theory of orientation scores, inspired by cortical multi-orientation pinwheel structures, and presents applications for automated quality assessment, optic nerve head detection, crossing-preserving enhancement and segmentation of retinal vasculature, arterio-venous ratio, fractal dimension, and vessel tortuosity and bifurcations. Many of these algorithms outperform state-of-the-art techniques. The methods are currently validated in collaborating hospitals, with a rich accompanying base of metadata, to phenotype and validate the quantitative algorithms for optimal classification power.