In Vivo Corneal Biomechanics: A Biomarker for Glaucoma?

Principal Investigator

Co-Principal Investigator


In this project we are exploring the relationship between the mechanical behavior of the cornea, a structure located at the front of the eye, and glaucoma - a potentially blinding condition which affects the optic nerve head, a structure located at the back of the eye. Specifically, we are looking to see whether understanding and quantifying corneal mechanical behavior in humans can be used to predict the likelihood of glaucoma, and of visual loss from glaucoma. This endeavor will have important implications for the diagnosis and management of glaucoma, one of the world's leading causes of blindness.

Detailed Non-Technical Summary

Drs. Michael Girard and Nick Strouthidis will explore whether the stiffness of the cornea, i.e., the clear “window” at the front of the eye, can predict glaucoma, a blinding ocular disorder characterized by mechanical damage at the back of the eye. An optical coherence tomography scanner will be used to image in great detail how all ocular tissues, including both the front and back of the eye, respond to a change in intraocular pressure (the pressure that maintains the shape of the eye). Such testing will allow them, for the first time ever, to deduce the stiffness of the entire eye in glaucoma patients and establish a correlation between these stiffness and vision loss. They envision one day assessing glaucoma risk by measuring the stiffness of patients' corneas in the clinic.

Progress Updates

Dr. Girard’s and Strouthidis’ team spent the first year of the award developing novel engineering tools for future use in diagnosing glaucoma at the clinic. The team needs to further improve the proposed tools and confirm that they work by comparing the results with clinical data obtained from currently-available methods.

First published on: July 06, 2011

Last modified on: November 28, 2022