The biomechanical properties of the sclera could provide key information regarding the progression and etiology of ocular diseases. For example, an elevated intraocular pressure is one of the most common risk factors for glaucoma and can cause pathological deformations in the tissues of the posterior eye, such as the sclera, potentially damaging these vital tissues. Previous work has evaluated scleral biomechanical response to global displacements with techniques such as inflation testing. However, these methods cannot provide localized biomechanical assessments. In this pilot work, we induce low amplitude (< 10 μm) elastic waves using acoustic radiation force in posterior scleral tissue of fresh porcine eyes (n=2) in situ. The wave propagation induced using an ultrasound transducer was detected across an 8 mm region using a phase-sensitive optical coherence elastography system (PhS-OCE). The elastographic measurements were taken at various artificially controlled intraocular pressures (IOP). The IOP was pre-cycled before being set to 10 mmHg for the first measurement. Subsequent measurements were taken at 20 mmHg and 30 mmHg for each sample. The results show an increase in the stiffness of the sclera as a function of IOP. Furthermore, we observed a variation in the elasticity based on direction, suggesting that the sclera has anisotropic biomechanical properties. Our results show that OCE is an effective method for evaluating the mechanical properties of the sclera, and reveals a new area for our future work.
Achuth Nair, Chen Wu, Manmohan Singh, Chih Hao Liu, Raksha Raghunathan, Jennifer Nguyen, Megan Goh, Salavat Aglyamov, and Kirill V. Larin, "Evaluation of posterior porcine sclera elasticity in situ as a function of IOP," Proc. SPIE 10474, Ophthalmic Technologies XXVIII, 1047418 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289233.
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