Professor Lerner receives grant for research on Corneal Biomechanics and Optics

September 15, 2016


Professor Amy Lerner recently received a Dean's Office PumpPrimer II Grant for her research project titled, "Corneal Biomechanics and Optics: Model Refinement and Validation for Translational Applications."

Project description: The cornea is the major refractive component of the eye and has complex mechanical properties based on a nonlinear fibrillar structure.  Under normal intraoccular pressure, the Inflation of the cornea can alter the optical quality of the eye.  Thus, predicting the outcomes of refractive surgery such as LASIK requires a detailed understanding of the mechanical behavior of the cornea.  Unfortunately, our understanding of the complex nonlinear, inhomogeneous and spatially varying distribution of the collagen network within its extrafibrillar matrix is limited.  Our goal is to develop and experimentally validate a three-dimensional finite element model of the human cornea.  This pilot project brings together the expertise of the Yoon lab for optical analysis, the Buckley lab for measurement of material properties and the Lerner lab for computational modeling.  We will establish key methodology and preliminary data that compare experimentally measured  corneal responses to predictions in a model that incorporates the spatial variations in material properties.  Such a model could be used in early detection of keratoconus and post-refractive surgery ectasia, and thus be of great clinical value.