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J R Soc Interface. 2004 Nov 22;1(1):3-15.

Application of structural analysis to the mechanical behaviour of the cornea.

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Division of Civil Engineering, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK.


Structural engineering analysis tools have been used to improve the understanding of the biomechanical behaviour of the cornea. The research is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between structural engineers, mathematical and numerical analysts, ophthalmologists and clinicians. Mathematical shell analysis and nonlinear finite-element modelling have been used in conjunction with laboratory experiments to study the behaviour of the cornea under different loading states and to provide improved predictions of the mechanical response to disease and injury. The initial study involved laboratory tests and mathematical back analysis to determine the corneal material properties and topography. These data were then used to facilitate the construction of accurate finite-element models that are able to reliably trace the performance of cornea upon exposure to disease, injury or elevated intra-ocular pressure. The models are being adapted to study the response to keratoconus (a disease causing loss of corneal tissue) and to tonometry procedures, which are used to measure the intra-ocular pressure. This paper introduces these efforts as examples of the application of structural engineering analysis tools and shows their potential in the field of corneal biomechanics.

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