Characterization of age-related variation in corneal biomechanical properties

Ahmed Elsheikh, Brendan Geraghty, Paolo Rama, Marino Campanelli, Keith M. Meek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental study has been conducted to determine the stress-strain behaviour of human corneal tissue and how the behaviour varies with age. Fifty-seven well-preserved ex vivo donor corneas aged between 30 and 99 years were subjected to cycles of posterior pressure up to 60 mmHg while monitoring their behaviour. The corneas were mechanically clamped along their ring of scleral tissue and kept in physiological conditions of temperature and hydration. The tissue demonstrated hyper-elastic pressure-deformation and stress-strain behaviour that closely matched an exponential trend. Clear stiffening (increased resistance to deformation) with age was observed in all loading cycles, and the rate of stiffness growth was nonlinear with bias towards older specimens. With a strong statistical association between stiffness and age (p <0.05), it was possible to develop generic stress-strain equations that were suitable for all ages between 30 and 99 years. These equations, which closely matched the experimental results, depicted corneal stiffening with age in a form suitable for implementation in numerical simulations of ocular biomechanical behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1475-1485
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2010


  • Ageing
  • Cornea
  • Ocular biomechanics
  • Stress-strain behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry


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