Structure-Function Relationships in the Cornea
Collaborators: Yousuf Khalifa, M.D., Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Geunyoung Yoon, Ph.D.
Under normal intraocular pressure, the cornea takes on a dome-like shape that helps it to focus light onto the retina and enable vision. However, when the mechanical properties of the cornea are altered (e.g., in an individual with keratoconus), the cornea takes on an abnormal shape, causing the path of light passing through the eye to be altered and vision to become blurred. Hence, understanding how the structure and composition of the cornea mediate its mechanical properties is of great scientific and clinical interest.
We are working to characterize the location-dependent material properties of the cornea in tension, compression and shear by combining simultaneous high-speed microscopy, force measurement and control of deformation on viable corneal explants (Sloan et al., 2014; Ramirez-Garcia et al., 2017). By correlating our data with location-dependent structural and compositional data that can be obtained in vivo, we aim to enable novel clinical tools that can identify focal changes in corneal mechanics and thereby aid in the diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus and other diseases of the cornea.
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