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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Aug;50(8):3721-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3245. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Quasilinear viscoelastic behavior of bovine extraocular muscle tissue.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7002, USA.



Until now, there has been no comprehensive mathematical model of the nonlinear viscoelastic stress-strain behavior of extraocular muscles (EOMs). The present study describes, with the use of a quasilinear viscoelastic (QLV) model, the nonlinear, history-dependent viscoelastic properties and elastic stress-strain relationship of EOMs.


Six oculorotary EOMs were obtained fresh from a local abattoir. Longitudinally oriented specimens were taken from different regions of the EOMs and subjected to uniaxial tensile, relaxation, and cyclic loading testing with the use of an automated load cell under temperature and humidity control. Twelve samples were subjected to uniaxial tensile loading with 1.7%/s strain rate until failure. Sixteen specimens were subjected to relaxation studies over 1500 seconds. Cyclic loading was performed to validate predictions of the QLV model characterized from uniaxial tensile loading and relaxation data.


Uniform and highly repeatable stress-strain behavior was observed for 12 specimens extracted from various regions of all EOMs. Results from 16 different relaxation trials illustrated that most stress relaxation occurred during the first 30 to 60 seconds for 30% extension. Elastic and reduced relaxation functions were fit to the data, from which a QLV model was assembled and compared with cyclic loading data. Predictions of the QLV model agreed with observed peak cyclic loading stress values to within 8% for all specimens and conditions.


Close agreement between the QLV model and the relaxation and cyclic loading data validates model quantification of EOM mechanical properties and will permit the development of accurate overall models of mechanics of ocular motility and strabismus.

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