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Effect of Age-Stiffening Tissues and Intraocular Pressure on Optic Nerve Damages

Leo KK Leung, Match WL Ko, David CC Lam

From the Department of Mechanical Engineering, TheHong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China
Corresponding author, The Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong; Email:; Tel no.: (+852) 23588661

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2012, 9(2), 157-174.


Age-stiffening of ocular tissues is statistically linked to glaucoma in the elderly. In this study, the effects of age-stiffening on the lamina cribrosa, the primary site of glaucomatous nerve damages, were modeled using computational finite element analysis. We showed that glaucomatous nerve damages and peripheral vision loss behavior can be phenomenologically modeled by shear-based damage criterion. Using this damage criterion, the potential vision loss for 30 years old with mild hypertension of 25mmHg intraocular pressure (IOP) was estimated to be 4%. When the IOP was elevated to 35mmHg, the potential vision loss rose to 45%; and age-stiffening from 35 to 60 years old increased the potential vision loss to 52%. These results showed that while IOP plays a central role in glaucomatous damages, age-stiffening facilitates glaucomatous damages and may be the principal factor that resulted in a higher rate of glaucoma in the elderly than the general population.


Cite This Article

Leung, L. K., Ko, M. W., Lam, D. C. (2012). Effect of Age-Stiffening Tissues and Intraocular Pressure on Optic Nerve Damages. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 9(2), 157–174.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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