Numerical model of optical coherence tomographic vibrography imaging to estimate corneal biomechanical properties

Sabine Kling*, Imran B. Akca, Ernest W. Chang, Giuliano Scarcelli, Nandor Bekesi, Seok Hyun Yun, Susana Marcos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Most techniques measuring corneal biomechanics in vivo are biased by side factors. We demonstrate the ability of optical coherence tomographic (OCT) vibrography to determine corneal material parameters, while reducing current prevalent restrictions of other techniques (such as intraocular pressure (IOP) and thickness dependency). Modal analysis was performed in a finite-element (FE) model to study the oscillation response in isolated thin corneal flaps/eye globes and to analyse the dependency of the frequency response function on: corneal elasticity, viscoelasticity, geometry (thickness and curvature), IOP and density. The model was verified experimentally in flaps from three bovine corneas and in two enucleated porcine eyes using sound excitation (100-110 dB) together with a phase-sensitive OCT to measure the frequency response function (range 50-510 Hz). Simulations showed that corneal vibration in flaps is sensitive to both, geometrical and biomechanical parameters, whereas in whole globes it is primarily sensitive to corneal biomechanical parameters only. Calculations based on the natural frequency shift revealed that flaps of the posterior cornea were 0.8 times less stiff than flaps from the anterior cornea and cross-linked corneas were 1.6 times stiffer than virgin corneas. Sensitivity analysis showed that natural vibration frequencies of whole globes were nearly independent from corneal thickness and IOP within the physiological range. OCT vibrography is a promising non-invasive technique to measure corneal elasticity without biases from corneal thickness and IOP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20140920
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number101
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Corneal biomechanical properties
  • Corneal natural frequencies
  • Non-contact
  • Vibrography


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